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   Cruise Travel - Cruise News

Cruise Club is a free service, and when you join, you will begin receiving weekly updates including the latest cruise news and cruise specialsWelcome to this week's edition of Cruise News, the best place on the Web to find up-to-date information about cruises. To automatically receive Cruise News via email each week, join our Cruise Club.

For up to the minute news, stop by Cruise Talk anytime to post a message or find out what your fellow passengers and industry insiders are saying about a particular ship, cruise line or destination.

Cruise News - August 22, 2016

Don't forget to check out CruisePage.com, the Internet's largest cruise database. With over 11,000 cruise itineraries and over 300 ship profiles, CruisePage.com is the perfect tool to help you find and book the perfect cruise.

Princess Cruises Presents Majestic Princess
Princess Cruises today unveiled designs and announced key features of Majestic Princess, the newest and most luxurious ship in the global fleet. Departing April 4, Majestic Princess will sail on her inaugural voyage, a five-day Adriatic Sea cruise roundtrip from Rome with stops in Kotor and Corfu.

Princess Cruises today unveiled designs and announced key features of Majestic Princess, the newest and most luxurious ship in the global fleetFollowing her maiden cruise, Majestic Princess will tour Europe, offering guests a chance to experience the ship on 7, 14, 21 and 28 day cruises departing from Rome, Barcelona or Athens. A repositioning voyage will depart Barcelona on May 14, 2017, visiting Dubai and Singapore before arriving in Shanghai, her new home. Majestic Princess will begin her first cruise from its home-port in Shanghai on July 11, 2017, carrying 3,560 guests to a variety of destinations in Japan and Korea.

"Over the past 50 years, we have developed a mastery of global travel, delivering a truly international cruise vacation experience to our guests," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "With the debut of Majestic Princess, first in Europe and then in China, we invite guests to indulge in a world-class experience that allows them to completely relax, unwind and ultimately 'come back new.'"

Majestic Princess, a sister cruise ship to Regal Princess and Royal Princess, will offer its guests a variety of enticing features and experiences, including:

Global Cuisine – Exceptional culinary offerings are a pillar of the Princess guest experience, designed and executed by masterfully trained chefs from France, Italy, the United States, Australia, China and Japan, among others. They create memorable dining experiences inspired by the more than 360 exotic ports of call visited by the line annually. This is why Princess Cruises has been named "Best Cruise Line for Food Lovers" by Food & Wine Magazine.

Popular culinary offerings from sister ships Royal Princess and Regal Princess will be aboard Majestic Princess including:

• The exclusive Chef's Table Lumiere, a unique and engaging dining experience personally hosted by our Princess Executive Chef which includes a private galley tour and a multicourse dinner served at a grand custom-designed table where guests are surrounded by a glimmering curtain of light.
• The award-winning Crown Grill & Bar, an American steakhouse, preparing top-quality cuts of beef, chops and seafood in an open-kitchen served in a classically elegant restaurant setting.
• Alfredo's, named after Princess Cruises' award-winning Master Chef Alfredo Marzi, offers a selection of classic Italian and signature Neapolitan-style pizzas (voted "Best Pizza at Sea"), along with baked pasta dishes and specialty appetizers and desserts.

Two new specialty restaurants will be introduced onboard Majestic Princess. They include:

• Harmony, created in partnership with Chef Richard Chen formerly of Wynn Las Vegas "Wing Lei" (the first Chinese restaurant in North America awarded a Michelin star). Harmony will feature haute Chinese cuisine paired with pristine ocean views and modern décor, serving Chef Chen's interpretation of classic Cantonese dishes.
• Le Bistrot, located in the lively atrium, offers casual French home-style dining with a modern twist. Harkening back to an authentic Parisian bistrot, guests will enjoy traditional Escargots Casseroles, Braised Ox Tongue and Mushroom Ragout, along with baquettes, tartines, tourtes and French Patisseries.

To top it off, there will also be a wide selection of all-day gastronomy in the World Fresh Marketplace (Horizon Court buffet on other ships), where guests can taste flavors from diverse food stations around the world ranging from Mediterranean dishes, a pasta specialty counter, colorful farmer's market salads and fresh fruits and a new "East Meets West" street food specialty counter. The Bakery inside the World Fresh Marketplace will serve Western, European and Asian pastries and Danishes.

Modern & Stylish Cruise Ship Design – Influenced by fashion, art and history, the interior designs of Majestic Princess present a sophisticated and stylish visual experience representative of traveling the world. Exquisite designs use metal, glass and inlaid wood through-out to welcome guests who appreciate the elegance and glamour of premium cruising. European marble, mosaic tile floors, polished woods and sumptuous fabrics are featured onboard the ship. Plush custom-designed carpets in the guest corridors feature floral motifs that represent an Asian-inspired beauty and grace. Hand tufted area rugs also mirror floral motifs located at the entrances to the main dining rooms.

Modern & Stylish Stateroom Design – More than 80 percent of Majestic Princess' staterooms include a private balcony. All staterooms feature the new Princess Luxury bed, featuring a custom-made mattress developed by Dr. Michael Breus, the board-certified sleep expert recognized as "The Sleep Doctor." The bed also includes luxury linens designed by Candice Olson, the Canadian design-star of the hit HGTV shows "Candice Tells All" and "Divine Design." The superb bedding system is exclusively designed for the Princess SLEEP program.

World-Class Entertainment – The first two shows to be seen on Majestic Princess will be "Fiera" and "Fantastic Journey" both have been met with enthusiastic acclaim by international audiences across the Princess fleet. These musical shows feature a world-class cast of singers and dancers along with some of the most elaborate production numbers, costumes and advanced multimedia stage technology ever produced at sea. It also features Movies Under the Stars on the largest outdoor screen at sea, as well as Water Color Fantasy, a cruise industry first presenting a dazzling water and light show at sea.

Onboard Experience – Onboard Majestic Princess, guests will also experience the signature SeaWalk, the industry's first glass floor walkway at sea, and SeaView Bar featuring "flair" bartending with the best views at sea. The Piazza Atrium, the central focal point of the ship features live entertainment throughout the day and evening. It is a grand spectacle surrounded by The Shops of Princess, nearly 1,100 square meters of luxury boutiques which include designer brand shops from Cartier, Bvlgari and Chopard, leather goods from Burberry and Gucci, along with watches by these luxury brands as well as Montblanc, Longines, Rado and Tissot to name a few.

Carnival To Operate 14-Day Alaska Cruise Round-Trip - From Long Beach, CA!
For the first time, Carnival Cruise Line will offer a 14-day Alaskan adventure round-trip from Long Beach, Calif., in September 2017 featuring seven spectacular destinations, including Glacier Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the line's first visit to Icy Strait Point, an unspoiled wilderness area offering some of the best whale and bear watching in the state and the world's longest zip-line.

Carnival To Operate 14-Day Alaska Cruise Round-Trip - From Long Beach, CA!The one-of-a-kind voyage -- part of the line's Carnival Journeys cruise enrichment series -- will take place aboard Carnival Miracle departing Long Beach Sept. 2 and returning Sept. 16, 2017.

In addition to a full-day sailing Glacier Bay and Carnival's inaugural call to Icy Strait Point, the 14-day cruise will feature the stunning Alaskan ports of Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Sitka, as well as Vancouver, British Columbia. Each of these destinations offers a rich history and culture, along with awe-inspiring natural wonders, including calving glaciers, magnificent fjords and native sea and animal life. A wide range of exciting shore excursions – from helicopter flightseeing and rainforest canopy tours to hiking, canoeing and kayaking expeditions, and alpine lake snorkeling – will be available.

Guests sailing on the special 14-day Carnival Journeys cruise will also enjoy unique on-board experiences where they can sample Alaskan cuisine and enjoy local entertainment and cultural opportunities within the various ports of call. Activities focusing on a broad range of topics – everything from photography and cooking to arts and crafts and celestial navigation -- along with a 1980s-themed "Throwback Sea Day" will be offered, as well.

Carnival Legend will also offer 38 seven- and eight-day Alaska voyages in 2017 and 2018, including seven week-long Glacier Bay cruises next year -- the most voyages by Carnival to this region, which features majestic glaciers and other ice formations and is home to numerous whales, bears and other wildlife.

The seven- and eight-day voyages operate either round-trip from Seattle or from Vancouver to Seattle, visiting a variety of stunning ports, including Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Victoria, BC, plus a full-day cruising Tracy Arm Fjord or Glacier Bay.

"A Carnival Alaska cruise is like no other and with this exciting new 14-day Carnival Journeys adventure, combined with the wide variety of seven- and eight-day voyages, we're offering guests an incredible array of opportunities to get an up close and personal look at this beautiful sailing region," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Carnival To Give $250,000 To Aid Organizations For Louisiana Flood Relief
Carnival Cruise Line and its parent company, Carnival Corporation, are giving a total of $250,000 to charitable organizations to support their efforts on behalf of victims of the Louisiana floods. The cruise line is donating $125,000 and its parent company is matching that amount through its Carnival Foundation charitable arm.

Carnival To Give $250,000 To Aid Organizations For Louisiana Flood ReliefRecipients include the American Red Cross, Louisiana Association of United Ways and Save the Children.

In addition, guests sailing on Carnival cruises from New Orleans have the option to donate when they check in for their cruise and Carnival employees are being encouraged to donate, as well.

"Having homeported Carnival ships in Louisiana for more than two decades, we very much consider ourselves a part of the community and, therefore, it is extremely important to us to provide aid to support the tens of thousands of Louisiana residents who have been affected by these devastating floods," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

The American Red Cross is sheltering thousands of residents displaced by the flooding in southern Louisiana and delivering food, relief supplies and emotional support to flood victims. Donations to the Louisiana Association of United Ways will be dispersed among regional United Way organizations in communities affected by the floods to support long-term needs. Save the Children has deployed an emergency response team to Louisiana and is focused on meeting the critical needs of flood affected children and families and moving forward will be working to restore services essential to children's well-being.

Carnival is Louisiana's most popular cruise line and has operated from the Port of New Orleans since 1994. Carnival is the only line operating two year-round ships, Carnival Triumph and Carnival Dream, carrying 450,000 guests from the port annually. Since 2004 Carnival has embarked over 3 million guests from New Orleans.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 46.91 + 1.65%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 69.84 - 2.32%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.14 + 1.90%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 37.68 - 1.80%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What were the names of the three cruise ships that served as temporary housing for evacuees and workers recovering from hurricane Katrinain 2005?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Name the two 14,000 ton sister ships that entered service for Cunard in 1971 & 1972 and were replaced in 1976 & 1977.

Answer - The ships that entered Cunard's fleet in 1971 and 1972 were the Cunard Adventurer (Sunward II, Triton, Coral) and the Cunard Ambassador. They were replaced in 1976 and 1977 by the Cunard Countess and Cunard Princess.
courtesy of Patrick Race, Berkeley CA

Cruise News - August 15, 2016

Carnival Corporation and Port Everglades Extend Landmark Agreement to 2030
Carnival Corporation today signed an addendum to one of its most strategic passenger terminal agreements, extending the contract through 2030 with an additional five years of sailings to and from Fort Lauderdale-based Port Everglades, one of the world's top three cruise ports.

Carnival Corporation and Port Everglades Extend Landmark Agreement to 2030“The addendum builds on the landmark 15-year agreement reached in 2010 with the Broward County Board of County Commissioners and furthers Carnival Corporation's commitment to Port Everglades, which overall has more than 3.6 million multi-day cruise passengers a year. Overall, the agreement and business generated from Carnival Corporation's brands operating at Port Everglades produces a significant positive economic impact for the port and county.

As part of the addendum, Carnival Corporation will have preferential use of Cruise Terminal 4, which reopened last year after $24 million worth of renovations and upgrades designed for greater efficiency and guest convenience.

Additionally, the port is currently undertaking an estimated $13.6 million slip extension project on Terminal 4, expected to be complete by the middle of 2017, that will lengthen the slip to accommodate larger cruise ships.

As part of the long-term agreement, the company also has preferential use of three additional terminals, Cruise Terminals 2, 21 and 26, along with one additional terminal. This provides five terminals in total for Carnival Corporation to serve its guests who visit Fort Lauderdale as part of their cruise vacation.

"Carnival Corporation is a critical Port Everglades partner, and its many unique cruise line brands offer guests sailing into and out of our port with a wide variety of cruise experiences and itineraries," said Steve Cernak, chief executive and port director of Port Everglades. "Carnival Corporation has a strong, long-standing presence in the Broward County community, and the additional five years included in the agreement reinforces that commitment. We look forward to welcoming the newest member of Holland America Line's fleet, ms Koningsdam, to our sunny shores in November."

Furthering its dedication to the port, the company will add a second ship from its Carnival Cruise Line brand, Carnival Splendor, to sail from Port Everglades during the 2017 summer season. In addition to Carnival Cruise Line, six more of Carnival Corporation's 10 global cruise line brands currently carry nearly a million and a half passengers to and from Port Everglades each year. These brands include Holland America Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, P&O Cruises UK, Princess Cruises and Seabourn. The seven Carnival Corporation brands and 28 different ships account for a combined average of more than 300 calls at the port each year.

"Florida is the largest cruise market in the world, and we are thrilled to extend our agreement with Port Everglades, which is an extremely convenient and popular location for our guests with close proximity to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and the Caribbean, the world's most popular region for cruise vacations," said Giora Israel, senior vice president of global port and destination development for Carnival Corporation. "We place great value on the long and successful relationship we have built with the port and Broward County, and we look forward to working together to meet our most important goal -- providing memorable vacation experiences for our guests for many years to come."

As part of the original agreement, the port undertook a $54 million cruise terminal renovation project to make significant improvements to four existing cruise terminals to accommodate ships from Carnival Corporation's fleet of global cruise line brands. Enhancements made as part of the project included features to enable simultaneous embarkation and debarkation processes, including two passenger loading bridges, separate and larger baggage halls and improved ground transportation areas. As part of the extension, Carnival Corporation and Port Everglades will engage in discussions to examine the opportunity for possible further improvements to Cruise Terminal 21 to accommodate Carnival Corporation's newest class of ships.

Celebrity Brings Back Quick, Modern Luxury Escapes to the Caribbean
Back by popular demand, Celebrity Cruises is reintroducing quick escapes to the Caribbean, giving time-crunched vacationers the opportunity to visit tropical ports-of-call in modern luxury style and experience the Celebrity Distinction.

Vacationers can choose from four and five night sailings from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., onboard Celebrity Summit"Our discerning guests have told us they want Celebrity's modern luxury vacations in the Caribbean and expressed an incredible level of excitement for the shorter itineraries we’ve offered in the past," explained Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "We listened and decided to reintroduce these coveted sailings where ease, convenience, relaxation and modern luxury coexist, while sailing to some of the most celebrated ports in the Caribbean onboard the beautiful Celebrity Summit."

Vacationers can choose from four and five night sailings from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., onboard Celebrity Summit to highly sought-after ports of call, including Key West, Fla.; Nassau, Bahamas; and Cozumel, Mexico:

Four-Night Getaways:
The four-night sailings make for the perfect extended-weekend getaway. Guests will bask in the island breeze of Nassau, Bahamas, enjoy the modern luxury amenities Celebrity Summit has to offer during a day at sea, and unwind in the island paradise, Key West, Fla. – and still be back in time for work on Monday morning.

Five-Night Mini-Escapes:
The five-night sailings afford guests more opportunities to experience the distinct culinary delights and world-class offerings onboard Celebrity Summit, with two days at sea, before experiencing the rich heritage of Cozumel, Mexico, and the laid back vibe of Key West, Fla. Guests return home on Thursday with a three-day weekend still ahead of them.

Extended Caribbean Vacations:
For vacationers yearning for a slightly longer getaway, Celebrity Summit will also offer two seven-night repositioning sailings from San Juan to Ft. Lauderdale, and a return sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to San Juan, with stops in some of the most exotic sought-after ports of call, such as the sun-soaked islands of Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten.

Celebrity's new mini escapes are available for booking now for travel beginning in early 2018 and during spring break and Easter.

Following the Ft. Lauderdale season, Celebrity Summit will return to its original homeport of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Celebrity Summit is captained by charismatic duo Alex Papadopoulos and Kate McCue, the first American female cruise ship captain in the industry, who alternate every three months.

Princess Cruises Annual Relaxation Report Reveals Nearly Half of Americans are Trading Vacation Sun and Fun for More Sleep
From politics to work stress, Americans need today’s National Relaxation Day more than ever. According to Princess Cruises’ seventh annual Relaxation Report, Americans are using valuable vacation time for things unrelated to vacation such as catching up on sleep and running errands. When it comes to catching more shut-eye, a majority of working Americans (72%) take at least one day off a year just to sleep, and two out of five Americans (40%) take five or more days off per year (a full work week), just to catch up on sleep according to the recent survey by Wakefield Research for Princess Cruises.

Princess Cruises Annual Relaxation Report Reveals Nearly Half of Americans are Trading Vacation Sun and Fun for More SleepIf they are not using their vacation time to sleep, many Americans are trying to get things done. In fact, 68% of Americans admit they’ve used a vacation day for something other than vacation including family emergencies (37%), doctor’s or dentist’s appointments (36%), sick days for their children or loved ones (31%), home projects (23%) and running household errands (23%) – compared to 2015, when 54% said they had done so. Sadly, it’s no wonder Americans are so tired, vacation time has become hard work.

In observance of National Relaxation Day, it’s time for Americans to let go of the guilt and stress they feel when trying to relax, especially when on vacation. Forty-three percent of Americans admit they frequently feel guilty for relaxing, holding steady from 2015. Ninety-one percent of working Americans say they look forward to sleeping while on vacation, but it appears that the stresses of everyday life are getting in the way of a good night’s sleep on vacation. More than a third (35%) of working Americans, including half (50%) of Millennials, often feel more stressed when they’re on vacation because they can’t stop thinking about work. The lack of sleep is even getting in the way of leisure activities with nearly half of Americans, including 65% of Millennials, admitting they frequently skip events or activities on vacation because they’re simply too tired.

As one of the world’s leading cruise lines, Princess Cruises, is committed to ensuring its guests come back from vacation feeling refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated. As part of its Come Back New Promise, Princess Cruises partnered with leading experts in both the science and beauty of sleep to develop the new Princess Luxury Bed. Together with sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus and designer Candice Olson, Princess Cruises now delivers its guests the ultimate night of sleep at sea.

“Sleep and relaxation should be a guilt-free necessity every person should seek in their day.” said Dr. Michael Breus, board-certified sleep expert. “We all want to get the sleep we need while on vacation, but sometimes being in a new place and sleeping in an unfamiliar environment will disrupt a good night's sleep. This is why I’ve partnered with Princess Cruises to design a luxury mattress and sleep program that will deliver the most restful, rejuvenating sleep at sea.”

Stressed Coast to Coast
Stress levels are high on vacation in every region except one. Working Americans in the Northeast (43%), West (42%) and South (33%) are significantly more likely to feel more stressed on vacation because they can’t stop thinking about work than those in the Midwest (21%). It’s clear that Midwesterners have no problem relaxing. Most agree (67%) that they never or hardly ever feel guilty about relaxing, compared to an average of only 54% across other regions (Northeast, South and West).

Men vs. Women
When it comes to the differences between the sexes, working women are far more likely (48%) than men (39%) to feel guilty about taking the time to relax. However, among the Americans who take at least one day off per year to catch up on sleep, men take more days than women - 8 versus 7, on average.

Redefining Digital Detox
The role of technology and smartphones seems to have shifted from a source of stress to a source of relaxation over the last couple of years. In 2016, 53% of Americans feel their smartphone makes it easier, rather than harder, to relax, compared to 2014 where 52% felt it made it harder.

Political Pressures
This year has taken political stress to the next level from the U.S. presidential election to the U.K.’s historic Brexit. In fact, when it comes to Trump vs Hillary, more than half of Americans (54%) say Trump is more likely to keep them up at night, with Hillary a close second at 46%. However, Americans aren’t the only ones in need of a political pause, as 61% of those polled felt that the United Kingdom, rather than Rio de Janeiro (39%), was in most need of a National Relaxation Day this year.

Royal Caribbean Announces Longest-Ever Singapore Season
Asia’s largest cruise ships Ovation of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas will be back in Singapore from this October to next May to offer Royal Caribbean International’s longest-ever homeporting season here, which will run for eight months totaling 55 cruises and expected to bring an estimated 200,000 guests to ports in Southeast Asia.

Royal Caribbean Announces Longest-Ever Singapore SeasonThe deployment of these three ships will increase Royal Caribbean’s capacity in 2017 in Southeast Asia by 30 per cent over 2016.

To kick start the season is Mariner of the Seas from this October with 39 sailings until next March, ranging from three to seven nights to popular destinations such as Penang, Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Phuket, Bangkok (Laem Chabang) and Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My). The new itineraries for the season are the 3-night Penang Weekend Cruise which will feature night touring and the 4-night Phuket Cruise.

Other highlights of Mariner of the Seas are the festive cruises for Christmas and New Year in December and Chinese New Year in January 2017 which come with special entertainment, decorations and feasts onboard. Theme cruises are also being lined up such as the Salsa Cruise this December featuring renowned international salsa dancers and the second Cosfest Sea Cruise next February where guests can look forward to a cosplay themed parade, anime party and treasure hunt.

Asia’s largest and newest ship Ovation of the Seas which was in Singapore in June, will be back in March to April 2017 with a total of 10 new sailings, comprising three to five nights to Penang, Phuket, Bangkok (Laem Chabang) and a 12-night one-way cruise to Tianjin with calls at Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) for an overnight, Hue/Danang (Chan May), Hong Kong and Seoul (Incheon). Ovation of the Seas alone is expected to add some 42,000 additional guests to the Singapore cruising scene, and delivering millions through in-port spend.

Following this will be Voyager of the Seas returning in May 2017 to offer six sailings of three to five night Southeast Asian itineraries to Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Penang, Phuket and an 8- night one-way cruise to Hong Kong, with stopovers at Bangkok (Laem Chabang) for an overnight, Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) and Nha Trang.

Guests onboard the new 18-deck smartship Ovation of the Seas will enjoy the ‘North Star’, an observation capsule that rises over 90 metres over the ocean; ‘Two70’ – a S$18.5 m

Carnival Vista, Recognized for 'Green' Ship Environmental Design, Construction and Operation
Classification society Lloyd's Register has bestowed the "ECO Notation" designation on the new Carnival Vista, marking the first Carnival Cruise Line ship to achieve this distinction. The notation recognizes that the cruise line designed, built and operates Carnival Vista in a manner that exceeds current maritime statutory environmental regulations.

Carnival Vista, Recognized for Green Ship Environmental Design, Construction and OperationLloyd's Register (LR) established a set of voluntary standards that vessels can seek to achieve that exceed regulations established by the International Maritime Organization and other national and international regulatory agencies. Vessels seeking the ECO Notation must comply with a set of rules established by LR that govern ship design as well as pass LR's surveys and audits during the construction process and once the ship is in service.

"Achieving the ECO Notation clearly demonstrates Carnival Cruise Line's commitment to responsible environmental stewardship," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Carnival Vista was designed to operate at the highest standards set by the international maritime industry, and everyone involved in creating and operating this exceptional ship can take great pride in their achievement."

Carnival Vista was engineered to reduce emissions and meets all current regulations for nitrous oxide and sulfur oxide discharges as well as particulate emissions through the use of low-sulfur fuel, particulate filters and exhaust-cleaning systems. The ship also has the first Intelligent Power Management System installed on a Carnival vessel. The system optimizes diesel engine operational settings to reduce emissions and conserve fuel. In addition, Carnival Vista has a steam-turbine generator that recovers excess steam produced by the exhaust gas boilers while the ship is underway.

Other shipboard systems that contribute to Carnival Vista's reduced environmental impacts include an advanced wastewater treatment system and energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the vessel. The ship has a ballast water treatment system that complies with Ballast Water Management Convention requirements before they take effect.

Carnival Vista also is ahead of regulatory requirements that are part of the Hong Kong Convention for Safe Recycling of Ships which will render it safer and cleaner to recycle the vessel when it reaches the end of its service life many decades from now.

Lloyd's Register will periodically run surveys and audits of Carnival Vista's operations to ensure the ship continues to comply with its ECO Rules and maintains its environmental notation.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 46.15 - 0.71%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 71.50 - 3.35%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.10 - 3.25%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 38.37 - 10.68%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Name the two 14,000 ton sister ships that entered service for Cunard in 1971 & 1972 and were replaced in 1976 & 1977.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Some of the inside cabins P&O's s/s Canberra had an interesting feature that made them brighter than inside cabins on most other cruise ships. What was the feature?

Answer - The interesting feature that Canberra had that made some of the inside cabins were windows that looked out into a "court". These cabins, called "court cabins", were built in such a way that the they were staggered down the corridor and the wall of the innermost cabin jutted slightly passed that of the more outer cabin and had a window placed there - thus light from the outside would penetrate these inside cabins. They were usually 3 deep.
courtesy of Timothy Edgecombe

Cruise News - August 8, 2016

Crystal Cruises Drops Plans to Return SS United States To Service
Following an intensive, six-month evaluation, Crystal Cruises today determined that while the SS United States is structurally sound, the technical and commercial challenges associated with returning the historic liner to service as a modern cruise ship have unfortunately proven insurmountable. As a show of support for the vessel, Crystal Cruises will be making a significant donation of $350,000 to aid in the Conservancy’s ongoing mission to save the ship. The Conservancy intends to resume its pursuit of stationary redevelopment opportunities for America’s Flagship.

In February, Crystal and the SS United States Conservancy announced they had entered into an exclusive option agreement with the goal of converting the iconic 1950s-era vessel into a modern, luxury cruise ship that would comply with all modern safety and technical standards – unprecedented for a single vessel refurbishment. Crystal commenced a comprehensive feasibility study and professional evaluation, convening a world-class team of engineers and experts while incurring over $1 million in costs.

Crystal Cruises Drops Plans to Return SS United States To Service“Over the past six months, Crystal has conducted an extensive feasibility study to restore ‘America’s Flagship’ to oceangoing service. Unfortunately, the hurdles that would face us when trying to bring a 65-year-old vessel up to modern safety, design and international regulatory compliance have proven just too great to clear in both a technically and commercially responsible manner,” said Crystal President and CEO Edie Rodriguez.

“While it has been determined that Crystal’s exciting vision for the ship would have required overcoming various technical hurdles and major changes to her historic design, the studies performed have confirmed the ship is structurally sound,” said Susan Gibbs, Executive Director of the SS United States Conservancy. “America’s Flagship continues to hold enormous potential as a stationary mixed-use development and museum in New York or another urban waterfront setting. The SS United States Conservancy remains deeply committed to saving this unique and powerful symbol of the nation’s strength, history, and innovation.”

Led by retired U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Tim Sullivan, Crystal’s impressive team of maritime experts and engineers conducted numerous assessments on the ship in the Port of Philadelphia, where it has been docked for 20 years. The evaluation and testing included in-depth assessments of the ship’s structural condition; underwater inspections of the hull by divers; the examination of her fuel and salt water ballasting tanks; and a series of intensive engineering studies to deduce what would be needed to bring her back into service.

Regrettably, the technical feasibility study concluded that while the ship is remarkably intact and structurally sound, modifying the ship for today’s standards for oceangoing service (SOLAS) would require significant changes to the hull that would pose stability challenges. Additionally, the installation of a modern, state-of-the-art diesel electric propulsion plant would have necessitated altering of the existing shaft lines and rebuilding about 25 percent of the hull to reconfigure the ship to a twin shaft-twin rudder arrangement. While it was known that the vessel would need to have been essentially rebuilt from the inside out, these specific challenges, among others, collectively posed significant risk to the success of the project.

“Our company has great affection for this historic and irreplaceable vessel, and we will be making a $350,000 donation which will help support the Conservancy preserve the vessel through the remainder of the year,” said Rodriguez. “We firmly believe the SS United States is an American treasure and deserves to be preserved and redeveloped as a stationary destination for future generations to experience and enjoy.”

The Conservancy will immediately restart its aggressive outreach to qualified developers and investors to secure the ship’s future, while continuing its ongoing mission to educate the public about the legacy of the vessel and building its museum collection and archives. A national reunion of former crewmembers and passengers is planned in Philadelphia on September 17.

“The Conservancy is deeply grateful to Crystal Cruises for recognizing the SS United States’ historic importance and for working so hard on the ship’s behalf,” said Gibbs. “I would also like to thank our members and supporters from across the country and around the world for their continued support. Together we will continue to work tirelessly to save America’s Flagship and honor the legendary liner’s legacy.”

Crystal would like to thank partners and agencies involved in helping complete the feasibility study including: the U.S Coast Guard; Atlantic Logistics; the U.S Environmental Protection Agency; the American Bureau of Shipping; the U.S. Maritime Administration; the Seafarer’s International Union and multiple U.S. Congressional committees. Finally, Crystal urges the public to visit www.SSUSC.org to help the SS United States Conservancy continue its efforts to save America’s Flagship and advance its educational and curatorial programs to honor the nation’s only remaining ocean liner.

Norwegian Cruise Line Expands Partnership With Margaritaville
Cruisers should get their Fins Up, as Norwegian Cruise Line today announced the expansion of its exclusive partnership with Margaritaville. As a part of The Norwegian Edge™, a $400 million investment program dedicated to delivering an exceptional onboard experience, Norwegian will introduce new Margaritaville at Sea restaurants onboard Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway this fall.

Norwegian Cruise Line Expands Partnership With MargaritavilleBuilding on its success and popularity on board Norwegian’s newest ship, Norwegian Escape, Margaritaville at Sea onboard Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway will bring to life nostalgic island moments with a tropical menu that features signature items like the Cheeseburger in Paradise and Who's to Blame Margarita, available à la carte, in an open air-eatery offering stunning ocean views.

“Norwegian Cruise Line has been bringing guests to paradise for nearly 50 years,” said Andy Stuart, President and Chief Operating Officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “With the expansion of our partnership with Margaritaville to our Breakaway Class ships, our guests will now be able to enjoy the island lifestyle before the ship has even left port.”

Margaritaville at Sea will open September 18 aboard Norwegian Getaway in the former Flamingo Grill, and on October 9 aboard Norwegian Breakaway in the former Uptown Grill.

“We are excited to expand our relationship with Norwegian Cruise Line, allowing even more guests to escape to the Margaritaville state of mind,” said John Cohlan, chief executive officer of Margaritaville. “Norwegian shares our philosophy that combines fun with exceptional service and we look forward to continuing to take this partnership to new sea levels.”

Norwegian Breakaway revolutionized the cruise industry when she debuted in 2013 bringing the best of New York City to sea with industry first innovations like The Waterfront, a full deck promenade of restaurants, bars and lounge space which enhances the guests’ connection with the ocean; high energy Broadway entertainment with Rock of Ages and Burn The Floor; a wide variety of accommodations offerings and much more. Norwegian Breakaway sails from New York year-round, during the winter months offering seven-day sailings to the Bahamas and Florida as well as Caribbean sailings up to 14-nights visiting some of the most sought after winter escapes, and seven-night sailings to Bermuda featuring three days in-port.

Norwegian Getaway, sister-ship for Norwegian Breakaway, sets sail from her home city of Miami and embodies the essence of the Magic City, the ship’s hull artwork was designed by Miami’s own David “LEBO” Le Batard and offers 26 dining options, two Broadway Shows, a thrilling Aqua Park with five heart-pounding slides, Splash Academy for kids and much more. Now through April 2017 Norwegian Getaway will sail seven-day Western Caribbean itineraries with alternating ports of call including Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize, the Caribbean’s new premier resort-style port of call that is being developed by Norwegian and due to open in November; and much more. In Summer 2017, Norwegian Getaway will return to Europe for the first time since her delivery in 2014, and sail the Baltic Capitals from Copenhagen, giving guests the opportunity to experience the ultimate in freedom and flexibility on eight- or nine-night cruises. This spectacular itinerary will allow guests to explore UNESCO World Heritage sites, take in the picturesque Baltic countryside and experience the unique history, cultures and architecture of these famed European cities. The itinerary includes calls in Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; along with an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Royal Caribbean Announces Holiday Adventures
Royal Caribbean International is inviting guests to start new holiday traditions at sea where the festive atmosphere will be aglow in the warm Caribbean waters, culminating in vivacious New Year’s Eve parties to ring in 2017 with families and friends. From ‘Snow Days on Deck’ that transform each ship’s social hub into sparkling, snowflake-filled holiday escapes, to Holly Jolly Holiday Parades and traditional tree lightings on every sailing, there will be holiday cheer around every turn throughout the month of December on all Caribbean-bound ships sailing from the U.S. eastern seaboard and Puerto Rico. In anticipation of the most wonderful time of the year, Royal Caribbean is spreading the holiday spirit in July with an exclusive “Deck the Holidays” promotion, offering guests up to $400 in onboard credit, 50 percent off a second guest and 50 percent reduced deposits on all December 2016 sailings that are booked on or before July 31, 2016.

Norwegian Cruise Line Expands Partnership With Margaritaville"Royal Caribbean will ‘deck the halls’ across 16 ships with carolers spreading cheer poolside, holiday wreaths and trees glowing throughout the ships, the beloved dishes and drinks that invoke the festive season in all of us, and even the opportunity to snap a picture with Santa and his elves when he makes his stops onboard,” said Mark Tamis, Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “We are pulling out all the stops this holiday season, bringing together what people love most about this time of year – without any of the chores – to create the ultimate holiday celebration at sea and lasting memories of new traditions.”

Royal Caribbean ships will be transformed into wintry wonderlands, bustling with activities such as holiday movies poolside under the stars, cookie decorating, trivia competitions, traditional and pop-music caroling, Santa Parades, special presents for suite guests, and tree-and Menorah-lighting ceremonies on every sailing, to name a few of the happenings that await. On ships offering the DreamWorks experience, guests will be able to take holiday photos with their favorite characters from films such as Kung Fu Panda, Shrek and Madagascar, and enjoy special holiday-themed character breakfasts. For New Year’s Eve, guests can dress up and dance their way into 2017 with full-scale parties that take over the ships with live music, balloon drops, confetti, champagne toasts at midnight, and party favors galore.

Holiday sailings vary in length from three- to 12- night Caribbean itineraries. Offering three ways to experience a holiday on the world’s largest cruise ships to the most sought-after Caribbean island destinations, Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Harmony of the Seas, and sister-ship Allure of the Seas will offer seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale, while Oasis of the Seas will sail from her new homeport in Port Canaveral, sailing itineraries that range from five to 10 nights. In the Northeast, Anthem of the Seas will offer seven-night sailings from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, NJ to the Bahamas and 10-night sailings to Eastern Caribbean islands including St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and Labadee in Haiti.

Seabourn To Offer New Spa And Wellness Programs
Seabourn, in partnership with The Onboard Spa by Steiner, has created a fleet-wide mindful living program offering guests a holistic spa and wellness experience that integrates physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being. The new Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil program will be the first-ever of its kind at sea.

The new Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil program will be the first-ever of its kind at sea.The new program will be led by the newly established position, The Wellness Guide. The Guide, will be a certified yoga and meditation practitioner who will inspire and educate all guests through various complimentary classes and gatherings throughout the voyage. Guests who choose to participate in this new program will have a cruise experience that is further enhanced by a holistic mind and body perspective.

"This new wellness program will offer our guests an experience they simply won't find anywhere else in the industry," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "By partnering with Dr. Weil, a pioneer in integrative medicine, we will deliver an even greater degree of mind and body programs that ensure you can break away, relax and rejuvenate while you travel with us. We're eager to share the full slate of offerings as a part of Seabourn Encore's inaugural sailing as another component of the Extraordinary Worlds of Seabourn."

The program is scheduled to kick off with Dr. Weil sailing on Seabourn Encore's inaugural cruise in January 2017. The program will be rolled out throughout the entire Seabourn fleet in 2017, including Seabourn Ovation in spring of 2018. Dr. Weil will sail on a different Seabourn ship each year where he will deliver a 60-minute lecture for guests and will also offer smaller informal group discussions. A separate team of wellness experts will also make regular visits to spa facilities throughout the Seabourn fleet.

Central to the program is the daily practice of meditation and yoga through a selection of complimentary sessions. Guests can experience Mindful Meditation, which will introduce positive affirmations and mantras they can reflect on throughout the day. There will also be daily restorative yoga classes which will continue to focus upon the mantra and positive affirmations. Yoga classes will be varied, offering guests the ability to choose classes that focus on various physical issues, such as yoga to heal back and joint pain, headaches and body alignment, as well as yoga to enhance creativity, mental focus and happiness. Classes will focus on mind, body and spirit over a period of seven days, and will change daily with a new theme.

Integral to the wellness program are enriching complimentary Mind and Body seminars designed to educate guests on philosophies and practices that are aligned with the program's mission. Each presentation will aim to empower guests with ideas and practices that enhance well-being and increase the awareness of connection between mind, body, environment and wellness. Seminars are created by Dr. Weil and Steiner's Wellness professionals, many of which will be based upon Dr. Weil's teachings, and will explore the fields of the healing arts.

On board seminars include:

• Spontaneous Happiness & Spontaneous Healing: adapted from Dr. Andrew Weil's best-selling books.
• Anti-inflammatory foods: adapted from Dr. Andrew Weil's nutritional guidance.
• Healthy Aging: adapted from Dr. Andrew Weil's research in this area.
• Introduction to Mindful Meditation: learn what happens to the body and mind during meditation.

Individualized one-on-one wellness sessions on select topics will also be available for a fee.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 46.48 - 0.49%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 73.98 + 2.95%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.17 - 3.98%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 42.96 + 1.18%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Some of the inside cabins P&O's s/s Canberra had an interesting feature that made them brighter than inside cabins on most other cruise ships. What was the feature?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which former cruise ship was severely damaged and almost sank after striking ice in June of 1989?

Answer - The ship involved would have been the Maxim Gorkiy near Spitzbergen.
courtesy of John Cruz

Cruise News - August 1, 2016

Carnival's New 133,500-ton Ship To Be Named Carnival Horizon
Carnival Cruise Line announced today that Carnival Horizon will be the name of its new 133,500-ton ship scheduled to be delivered in March 2018.

SkyRide is a dual-track, bicycle feature that combines exercise and thrills that debuted on Carnival Vista and will be on board Carnival Horizon as well when it debuts in 2018Currently under construction at Fincantieri's shipyard in Marghera, Italy, Carnival Horizon will be the line's second Vista-class ship, with the namesake vessel in the series, Carnival Vista, having entered service in May 2016.

Carnival Horizon will offer many of the hugely popular indoor and outdoor dining, bar, entertainment and activity options available on Carnival Vista including SkyRide, the IMAX Theatre, WaterWorks aqua park, Seuss at Sea program in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises and Alchemy Bar. There will also be a number of new innovations unique to this vessel.

In addition, Carnival Horizon will offer a wide range of accommodation categories, including the popular Havana staterooms and extra-roomy Family Harbor cabins. Homeport and itinerary details for Carnival Horizon will be announced at a later date.

With Carnival Horizon's name and layout designed to inspire guests to discover extraordinary views, new perspectives and amazing experiences, Carnival is hosting a fun social media contest on Instagram that will award a stateroom for up to four people when the ship debuts in 2018. To enter, post your favorite photo of a horizon and tag @Carnival and use the hashtag #CarnivalHorizonSweepstakes to enter to win the cruise giveaway. The contest will begin July 29, and run through July 31, at 11:59 p.m.

"The name Carnival Horizon not only reflects the ship's unique connection with the sea with so many spectacular indoor and outdoor spaces but also the boundless array of options that guests of all ages are sure to enjoy," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "And in keeping with our reputation for bringing fun and enjoyment to our guests and fans, we've come up with an engaging social media contest encouraging the sharing of your favorite Horizon photos," she added.

Royal Caribbean Reports Over 25% Growth In Second Quarter Earnings
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today reported GAAP and adjusted earnings of $1.06 and $1.09, respectively, up over 25% from last year and better than expectations. Full year adjusted earnings are also expected to be up 25% in the range of $6.00 to $6.10, down $0.20 from the midpoint of earlier guidance due to a negative impact of approximately $0.27 related to currency and fuel.

Royal Caribbean Reports Over 25% Growth In Second Quarter EarningsYields and costs for the year are also performing generally as expected. The sale of 51% of the Pullmantur Group announced in May was completed at the end of July. Consequently, Pullmantur's results will no longer be consolidated in Royal Caribbean's accounts. Since Pullmantur's yields and costs are lower than the fleet average, this change has the effect of increasing Royal Caribbean's yields and costs metrics for 2016.

"Our business remains strong and we continue to improve our return profile," said Richard Fain, chief executive officer. "This keeps us solidly on our path towards the Double-Double."


US GAAP Net Income for the second quarter 2016 was $229.9 million or $1.06 per share, compared to $185.0 million or $0.84 per share in 2015. Adjusted Net Income for the second quarter of 2016 was $235.2 million, or $1.09 per share, up over 25% versus the same quarter last year. The outperformance for the quarter was primarily driven by better than anticipated fuel expense.

Net Yields on a Constant-Currency basis increased 1.1%, in-line with guidance. The portfolio of global destinations performed as expected. Constant-Currency NCC excluding fuel increased 1.9%, also in-line with previous guidance.

Bunker pricing net of hedging for the second quarter was $511 per metric ton and consumption was 346,000 metric tons.


Royal Caribbean updated full year Adjusted EPS guidance to a range of $6.00 to $6.10. This is a $0.20 decrease at the midpoint versus previous guidance due to a $0.27 negative impact from currency and fuel rates, of which approximately $0.14 is related to weakness in the British Pound following the Brexit vote. Lower than expected fuel expense in the second quarter partially offset the full year impact of weaker foreign currencies and rise in fuel prices.

As previously announced, Royal Caribbean sold 51% of its stake in Pullmantur and formed a Joint Venture with Springwater Capital. This sale results in the deconsolidation of the Pullmantur Group. Consistent with our other joint ventures, results from this venture will now be accounted for under equity method accounting. An immaterial gain related to the sale has been excluded from Royal Caribbean's earnings guidance.

Royal Caribbean's booked position for the remainder of 2016 remains strong, similar to last year's record levels. Looking further ahead, Royal Caribbean's booked position for the next twelve months is also strong, up on both rate and volume, versus same time last year. Net Yields on a Constant-Currency basis are expected to increase in the range of 4.0% to 4.5%, driven primarily by the deconsolidation of the Pullmantur Group. Continued strength for North American products are helping offset weakness in the Eastern Mediterranean and in Shanghai.

NCC excluding fuel are expected to be up approximately 1.0% for the year. This includes a slight increase in this cost metric driven by the deconsolidation of the Pullmantur Group offset by a slight decrease in costs from the rest of the fleet.

"While there are always puts and takes in our key markets, our portfolio is performing as expected, our booked position remains strong, and our newbuilds are entering their markets to great fanfare," said Jason T. Liberty, chief financial officer. "These factors are driving another year of record earnings."

Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean expects 2016 Adjusted EPS to be in the range of $6.00 to $6.10 per share.


Constant-Currency Net Yields are expected to be up approximately 2.0% in the third quarter of 2016. The year-over-year improvement is primarily driven by the deconsolidation of the Pullmantur Group.

NCC excluding fuel are expected to be down approximately 1.5% on a Constant-Currency basis. This includes a small increase relating to deconsolidation of the Pullmantur Group.

Based on current fuel pricing, interest rates and currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean expects third quarter Adjusted EPS to be approximately $3.10 per share.

Carnival Announces Carnival LIVE's 2017 Lineup
Carnival Cruise Line has announced its initial 2017 Carnival LIVE lineup featuring country music stars Tim McGraw and Little Big Town along with comedians Jay Leno and Jeff Foxworthy who will perform on seven different ships departing from five convenient U.S. homeports.

Carnival Cruise Line has announced its initial 2017 Carnival LIVE lineup featuring country music stars Tim McGraw and Little Big Town along with comedians Jay Leno and Jeff FoxworthyCarnival LIVE is a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience that brings the best in live music and comedy to the seas, providing guests an opportunity to enjoy captivating performances by top artists in a unique and memorable setting where there's never a bad seat in the house. Performances are held in the ships' main show lounges which range in capacity from 900 to 1,300 – giving shows a more intimate and personal feel.

Three-time Grammy Award winner Tim McGraw will bring his signature brand of country music to two Carnival ships with show-stopping performances aboard Carnival Breeze March 2, and Carnival Valor March 3, while the ships are docked in Nassau, The Bahamas. In addition to 21 number one singles, 11 of McGraw's albums have debuted at number one on the Billboard country album chart.

Platinum recording artist Little Big Town will have audiences singing along and dancing in the aisles with shows in Nassau aboard Carnival Dream May 11, and Carnival Valor May 12. The recipients of nine Country Music Association awards, the chart-topping band has earned a loyal following for their unique mix of harmonies and incredible musical talents.

One of the most successful comedians in the country, Jeff Foxworthy is the largest selling comedy recording artist in history, a multiple Grammy Award nominee and author of 11 books. Famous for his "you might be a redneck if…" jokes, his comedy explores everyday family interactions and human nature. Foxworthy will perform two shows – one aboard Carnival Freedom June 21, and another aboard Carnival Ecstasy June 22, while the ships are docked in Nassau.

A member of the Television Hall of Fame and a longtime host of NBC's Tonight Show, Jay Leno will entertain guests with his observational humor with a pair of hilarious performances in Cozumel aboard the Carnival Victory May 3, and Carnival's newest ship the Carnival Vista May 4. Leno plays upwards of 200 shows a year and currently hosts "Jay Leno's Garage" on the CNBC network.

Carnival LIVE tickets for Tim McGraw, Little Big Town, Jeff Foxworthy and Jay Leno range in price from $30 to $80 for general admission, significantly less than land-based venues. VIP tickets are available for $100 to $300 and include seating in the first five rows, a photo opportunity with the artist and a commemorative concert pass.

“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” Takes the Stage Aboard Disney Cruise Line
For the “first time in forever,” the beloved animated hit “Frozen” is getting the Disney Cruise Line theatrical treatment as a new stage show exclusively aboard the Disney Wonder. “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” debuts, along with a wave of new enhancements to the ship, on cruises starting Nov. 10, 2016, from Galveston, Texas.

Frozen, A Musical Spectacular Takes the Stage Aboard Disney Cruise LineThe story will be presented like never before, with an innovative combination of traditional theatrical techniques, modern technology and classic Disney whimsy, completely unique to the Disney Wonder production.

“We’re so excited to bring ‘Frozen, A Musical Spectacular’ to the stage of the Walt Disney Theatre on the Disney Wonder. The production is going to delight each one of our guests because it’s a story for absolutely everyone in the family,” said Jim Urry, Vice President, Entertainment, Disney Cruise Line.

“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” will follow the captivating adventure of royal sisters Anna and Elsa as they embark on a journey to discover the meaning of sisterhood, inner strength and true love. Fans of the film and newcomers alike will be enchanted by favorite characters brought to life onstage along with beautiful renditions of the movie’s iconic music.

The show features dynamic costumes and sets, remarkable special effects, and spectacular production numbers that will delight Disney Cruise Line guests in new and surprising ways. The creative disciplines blend to create a seamless environment – blurring the lines between costume and scenic, set piece and video, puppet and puppeteer – and expand upon the most imaginative elements of the film.

“The story of ‘Frozen’ is one of the most iconic animated movies ever, so this is a unique and special opportunity to retell the story onboard the Disney Wonder, transporting guests right into the world of Arendelle,” said Kevin Eld, Creative Portfolio Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering.

To adapt this blockbuster animated feature into a quintessential stage production, Eld assembled a team of distinguished creative talent with Broadway credits and theatrical accolades.

The production is led by Tony Award-nominated director Sheryl Kaller (“Next Fall,” “Mothers and Sons”). Joining the creative team are Tony Award-winning costume designer Paloma Young (“Peter and the Starcatcher”), choreographer Josh Prince (“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”), scenic designer Jason Sherwood (“Paint Your Wagon”), and writer Sara Wordsworth (“In Transit”).

“Frozen, a Musical Spectacular” will feature music direction by Marco Paguia, projection design by Aaron Rhyne and lighting design by Rui Rita.

Dynamic puppetry by Michael Curry, whose designs are featured in Disney’s Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “The Lion King,” will bring exciting physicality to characters like Sven and Olaf.

The production features the popular music and lyrics by the creators of the “Frozen” film score, Kristen Anderson-Lopez (“In Transit,” “Up Here”) and Robert Lopez (“Avenue Q,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Up Here”), and is adapted from the screenplay by four-time Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (“Gotta Dance,” “Aladdin,” “The Wedding Singer,” “Elf”).

The 977-seat Walt Disney Theatre provides the perfect setting to immerse audiences in the kingdom of Arendelle and showcase the renowned score. Songs like “For the First Time in Forever” and “Love is an Open Door” will be expanded into ensemble pieces, and the film’s wintry wizardry will be realized in lavish production numbers of “In Summer” and “Fixer Upper.”

A stand-out moment, the emblematic ballad “Let it Go” will be transformed into a full-fledged stage spectacle. Complete with real-life magic – transformative scenery, snow flurries and state-of-the-art video technology – this show stopping number will bring Elsa’s enchanted icy blasts to reality like never before.

“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” is based on the Walt Disney Animation Studios “Frozen,” which is the number one animated feature of all time. The acclaimed film earned two Academy Awards (2014) for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.

An entirely separate two-act Broadway production of “Frozen” is currently being prepared by Disney Theatrical Productions and is slated to join Disney Theatrical’s New York productions of “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” for spring 2018 at a theater to be announced. It will have a pre-Broadway engagement starting in summer 2017 in Denver.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 46.71 + 0.86%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 71.86 - 1.62%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.26 - 3.42%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 42.46 + 1.85%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former cruise ship was severely damaged and almost sank after striking ice in June of 1989?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which former cargo liner built in 1958 ended her career as a land-locked hotel in Kuwait City, Kuwait?

Answer - The ship would be the SANTA PAULA which was built in 1958 by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. for the Grace Line of NY. She ended her days as a hotel in Kuwait City eventually being destroyed there by the retreating Iraqis after during the Gulf War.

Her sister was the SANTA ROSA which went on to become the EMERALD owned by Louis Cruises but operated by Thompson Holidays.
courtesy of M. Dunatov

Cruise News - July 25, 2016

Norwegian Joy To Feature Custom Artwork By Chinese Artist Tan Ping
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it has commissioned renowned Chinese artist Tan Ping to design the artwork to be featured on the hull of its soon to-be-unveiled Breakaway-Plus class vessel Norwegian Joy. Scheduled for release in Summer 2017, with home porting in Shanghai and Beijing, Norwegian Joy will be Norwegian Cruise Line's first ship that is purpose-built for the Chinese market to deliver on the promise that guests will enjoy 'First Class at Sea' experiences, starting with her VIP accommodations. Tan Ping's distinctive artwork will serve to underscore Norwegian Cruise Line's commitment to providing an unparalleled cruise experience for Chinese consumers.

Norwegian Cruise Line commissions Renowned Chinese Artist Tan Ping to Paint the Hull of its New Breakaway-Plus Class Vessel for China, Norwegian JoyA painter, printmaker, and educator, Tan Ping straddles the worlds of both art and design. His abstract paintings and copper plate etchings are in the collections of such renowned museums as The National Art Museum of China; Portland Art Museum, USA; Ludwig Museum, Germany; and The Shanghai Art Museum. Tan Ping also enjoys the distinction of having led and directed a team of designers from Central Academy of Fine Arts to complete the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Image and Landscape Design Project.

Norwegian Cruise Line commissions Renowned Chinese Artist Tan Ping to Paint the Hull of its New Breakaway-Plus Class Vessel for China, Norwegian Joy His subject for Norwegian Joy is the phoenix, an iconic mythical bird believed to reign supreme over all birds of the world. It is a ubiquitous motif in Chinese art and can be found throughout the centuries in paintings, silk brocades, architectural flourishes, and more.

"The Phoenix symbolizes beauty and good luck in Chinese culture, and Norwegian Joy will bridge across the West and the East and bring Chinese people's best wish to the world and everyone in her path," said Tan Ping.

Tan's modernistic design is simple, yet graceful, as flowing lines simultaneously convey forward movement and majestic poise. The artwork's color palette is dominated by red and yellow, traditionally the two most regal colors in China. Red signifies joy, a perfect match for a ship of the very same name. Yellow represents grandeur, the feeling that a ship of this size evokes in those who see it. The design also includes hints of blue, signifying the sea. These three colors are also primary colors, the starting point for all other colors in the spectrum of visible light. Through this subtle reference, Tan conveys the sense of an auspicious beginning to an unforgettable voyage.

"We are incredibly honored to be partnering with Professor Tan Ping," says David Herrera, President, Norwegian Cruise Line China. "Tan Ping's ability to design concepts that easily blend traditional Chinese culture with moving and changing aspects of life is inspiring. He has perfectly captured the feel of Norwegian Joy as a luxurious, technologically advanced ship while honoring traditional Chinese values. The hull art embodies the essence of the best of The East meshing perfectly with the best of The West."

Norwegian Joy will see the vision of the Phoenix artwork transferred to a medium of enormous scale on the hull of this unique ship. "This design is by far my largest artwork," says Tan. "Traveling worldwide on Norwegian Joy, I also expect that it will reach a far greater number of viewers than any of my previous works."

Tan Ping's stunning hull artwork promises to be the finishing touch on one of the most ambitious vessels in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet. Norwegian Joy will accommodate 3,850 guests with luxurious suites in the exclusive ship-within-a-ship complex, The Haven by Norwegian, along with a brand new Concierge category of staterooms, plus a wide array of mini-suite, balcony, ocean view and interior staterooms, many with virtual balconies, to meet every guests' needs. Dining options will feature the finest of both Chinese and Continental cuisine. When it comes to at-sea entertainment, guests aboard Norwegian Joy will be spoiled for choice with state-of-the-art Virtual Reality gaming at The Galaxy Pavilion, the world's first two-level competitive racetrack at sea, an open-space park, two multi-story waterslides and plentiful options for duty-free shopping.

Seabourn Launches New Excursions To The South Pole
Seabourn is launching new pre-cruise experiences taking guests to the South Pole on select Antarctica & Patagonia itineraries during the 2016-2017 season. Guests bound for the Great White Continent aboard Seabourn Quest can extend their adventure with two new travel packages that also travel to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including: Polar Quest & Patagonia and Polar Quest, Tierra del Fuego & Iguazu Falls.

Seabourn Launches New Excursions To The South Pole"Seabourn has made its reputation for offering guests astonishing experiences in places that are beyond the ordinary, and there are few travel opportunities less-expected or out-of-the-ordinary than a visit to the South Pole," said Robin West, Senior Manager, Expedition Planning and Operations for Seabourn. "These experiences will be the icing on the cake for guests bound for Antarctica aboard Seabourn Quest over the season ahead."

Both of the pre-cruise packages include stays at Union Glacier Camp in the southern Ellsworth Mountains, one of a few private seasonally occupied camps in Antarctica. Operated by renowned land-based tour operator Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE), the full-service camp offers spacious, double-occupancy sleeping tents; freshly prepared gourmet cuisine; and a spectacular setting for activities from scenic excursions to technical climbs and ski tours.

There are many memories waiting to be made and much for guests to enjoy on the new pre-cruise experiences on Seabourn Quest in Antarctica & Patagonia this season, including:

• Polar Quest & Patagonia (14 nights/15 days) – In addition to a transantarctic flight and landing at the South Pole, this overland journey takes guests on an exploration of breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site Torres del Paine National Park that encompasses 450,000 acres of forests, rivers, lakes and virgin pampas in southernmost Chile. Choose from a variety of included excursions providing daily opportunities to explore the various environments, including vivid blue ice pools, raw glacial moraines and abundant wildlife from guanacos to Andean condors. Package rates start at $50,999 per person based on double occupancy; pre-cruise departure December 4, 2016 followed by Seabourn Quest sailing December 19, 2016.

• Polar Quest, Tierra del Fuego & Iguazu Falls (16 nights/17 days) – In addition to a transantarctic flight and landing at the South Pole, guests will join a select company of intrepid explorers en-route to one of the world's most remote and unspoiled destinations: the breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site of Iguazu Falls National Park on the border of Brazil and Argentina. From Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina, guests will witness an immense complex of waterfalls. Explore the falls and its surroundings from extensive walkways or take options such as inflatable boats or helicopter tours. Package rates start at $53,999 per person based on double occupancy; pre-cruise departure December 26, 2016 followed by Seabourn Quest sailing January 12, 2017.

Carnival Elation Welcomes JAXPORT’S 2 Millionth Passenger
North Carolina resident and first-time cruiser Carina Alejandro became the two millionth passenger to sail from the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal when she arrived for her four-day cruise aboard the Carnival Elation yesterday.

Carnival Elation Welcomes JAXPORT’S 2 Millionth PassengerOfficials from JAXPORT and Carnival Elation Captain Gaetano Gigliotti were on hand to present Alejandro with a number of gifts, including a commemorative plaque.

During her Carnival Elation cruise to the Bahamas, Alejandro, her young son and fiancé are receiving VIP treatment with a number of on-board courtesies. The cruise is also serving as a special occasion as her boss is getting married on board.

Carnival Cruise Line launched the first year-round cruise program from Jacksonville in 2004 and continues to be the only cruise operator sailing year-round from the port.

The 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation offers four-day cruises to Freeport and Nassau in the Bahamas and five-day voyages to Nassau and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay. Carnival Elation carries 170,000 passengers annually from Jacksonville.

Celebrity Cruises Introduces Year-Round Caribbean Itineraries
Endless modern luxury vacations are back in the Caribbean. Celebrity Cruises has today introduced year-round Caribbean sailings onboard the award-winning Celebrity Equinox to some of the most breathtaking places in the region. And, as the only premium cruise brand to offer these one-of-a-kind vacations, Celebrity is further elevating each sailing by introducing new unique experiences and enriching activities that all ages can enjoy. This is the Celebrity Distinction.

Celebrity Cruises Introduces Year-Round Caribbean Itineraries "Our guests, first-time cruisers and our travel partners have been asking me for many years to offer year-round Caribbean cruises. They wished we offered these itineraries," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "Modern luxury, affluent vacationers have been looking for summer cruises in the Caribbean and we felt this was a significant opportunity in our offering. So our new year-long sailings are perfect for discerning families and couples who want a summer getaway to sought-after tropical islands, with the best culinary experiences in the region and enriching activities for children and adults – all of which can only be offered by Celebrity. We are also adding new itineraries and sailings to create the most unforgettable vacations in the Caribbean; this is another example of what makes Celebrity so distinct and unique."

Lutoff-Perlo, added: "The response we have received so far to our year-round Caribbean sailings has been overwhelming, and we are excited to offer our guests endless summers in such a beautiful place."

Celebrity Equinox Summer Takeover:

Celebrity Cruises is taking over the Caribbean, offering 24 sailings alternating between the Western and Eastern Caribbean on Celebrity Equinox and seven exceptional itineraries in 2017 – all from Miami. As a prelude to summer, Celebrity Cruises is offering a special 11-night Signature Event sailing in the Caribbean that includes a double-overnight stay in New Orleans, La., coinciding with the city’s famous jazz festival. In addition, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, will be hosting a special President’s Cruise in the Caribbean, departing on August 27, 2017, for an 8-night Eastern Caribbean sailing. Lutoff-Perlo will be hosting special events and excursions to take the vacation to the next level of indulgence.

"The Cruise Capital of the World is proud to welcome the Celebrity Equinox," said Miami-Dade County Mayor, Carlos A. Gimenez. "Passengers will experience a true getaway cruising from PortMiami as they sail past the colorful skyline of downtown Miami and surrounding beaches - a vacation experience like no other port in the world."

The Most Distinctive Summer Camp at Sea, for Children and Adults:

In addition to offering new sailings onboard the Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Cruises is introducing the most unique "Summer Camp at Sea,” allowing children to enjoy a vacation that moves beyond purely entertainment, to also deliver enriching and inspiring activities. From offering an “Adventure through Science” program to becoming a director for the day and creating a short video onboard, children ages 3-17 have a range of one-of-a-kind educational activities at their fingertips.

Taste of the Caribbean

Adults can partake in the excitement too with Celebrity Cruises' newest culinary program. Celebrity is bringing a taste of the Caribbean to modern luxury travelers with its new Taste of the Caribbean program, which offers complimentary events for adults at sea. Events include a culinary demo with Celebrity featured chefs, mixology demos, the biggest wine tasting at sea, rum and reggae party on The Lawn Club and brunch and bubbles. Exclusive events are also available for a fee, including a fresh pasta and mozzarella making class and lunch in Tuscan Grille and an exclusive five-course tasting dinner with Celebrity chefs.

Adults looking to be fully immersed in the culinary indulgences can enjoy the Taste of the Caribbean Premium Package. This luxurious package gives guests a taste of all of the culinary, wine and cocktail indulgences available on the Celebrity Equinox. From the Chef Market Discovery excursion to a “Blendtique" wine blending class to a Riedel Wine comparison workshop, guests' taste buds will be pampered throughout their sailing.

Carnival Cruise Line To Create New Build-A-Bear Workshop At Sea
Carnival Cruise Line and Build-A-Bear Workshop have entered into an exclusive partnership that will bring the unique retail-entertainment experience to the line's fleet.

The first Build-A-Bear Workshop At Sea is being rolled out aboard Carnival Dream and is expected to be fleetwide aboard all 25 Carnival ships by summer 2017.

Building upon Carnival's position as the family cruise leader hosting 700,000 kids a year, Build-A-Bear Workshop At Sea provides children of all ages an opportunity to make their own cuddly bear that can be customized with a variety of outfits and accessories, from tutus and high-top sneakers to, appropriately enough, vacation wear like bathing suits and sunglasses.

A St. Jude Bear with proceeds benefiting St. Jude Children's Research HospitalEach bear comes complete with its own "birth certificate" with the bear's name and date he or she was created, as well as a logoed drawstring bag. Additionally, the bears have their own "voice" via a recordable sound chip with kids recording their own special message.

And the fun doesn't stop at just making bears -- kids can create monkeys, leopards, turtles and other furry friends, as well as a St. Jude Bear with proceeds benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, one of Carnival's primary charitable partners.

"Build-A-Bear Workshop is a popular part of American culture and we're delighted to provide our guests with an opportunity to make their own custom-designed bear and create a lifetime of memories," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "We are equally grateful to partner with Build-A-Bear Workshop to help raise money for the special kids at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital," she added.

"Build-A-Bear Workshop stores have always been a destination for families, and our partnership with Carnival Cruise Line will offer passengers the chance to take part in the fun of making new furry friends while onboard," said Sharon John, president and CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop. "The arrival of the new Build-A-Bear Workshop experience on Carnival Cruise Line ships is an exciting example of how we're bringing our nearly 20-year-old brand into more places than ever before."

Participants can make their custom-designed bears at pop-up Build-A-Bear Workshop At Sea workstations located within the Camp Ocean facilities or join the ships' cruise directors with festive Build-A-Bear At Sea parties held each cruise and featuring music, bear-themed snacks and photo opportunities. The pop-up workstations are set up at designated times throughout the cruise and include everything to make a cute, huggable bear with racks filled with various outfits and accessories as well as an iconic stuffer that allows participants to add soft stuffing to make their bear as plush and cuddly as they want.

Build-A-Bear Workshop At Sea complements the wide variety of family-friendly activities available aboard Carnival Cruise Line ships which also include complimentary children's programs for kids 2-17, spectacular water parks with corkscrew water slides and splash zones, miniature golf courses, video arcades, poolside DiveIn Movies on giant LED screens, outdoor play spaces, volleyball and basketball courts and more.

Prices for the bears start at $20 with outfits and accessories starting at $5.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 46.31 + 1.51%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 73.04 + 2.82%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.34 + 1.30%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 41.69 + 1.29%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former cargo liner built in 1958 ended her career as a land-locked hotel in Kuwait City, Kuwait?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Cabins have traditionally been referred to as staterooms. From where does the term "stateroom" originate?

Answer - Originally, the term "stateroom" referred to the better-quality lodging available aboard riverboats plying the rivers of the early United States; these rooms were named after various states of the Union.
courtesy of Martina Flynn

Cruise News - July 18, 2016

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Officially Welcomes Seven Seas Explorer to Fleet
Godmother of Seven Seas Explorer, Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco, cut a red velvet ribbon which sent a Primat bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne smashing against the ship's hull to officially christen the newest member of the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet. The gala christening ceremony took place in Monte Carlo, one of the world's most glamorous cities, and included a special private concert by world-renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises President and COO Jason Montague, H.S.H. Princess Charlene of Monaco celebrate the christening of the fleet's newest ship, Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco delivered the traditional maritime blessing before the bottle of champagne broke against the ship's hull, officially christening the vessel. The jubilation of the bottle breaking moment was followed by a spectacular 40-minute private performance from musical maestro Andrea Bocelli, capping an incredible evening for a ship that sets new benchmarks for luxury.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises President and COO Jason Montague, H.S.H. Princess Charlene of Monaco, Captain Stanislas Gerard Jean Mercier De Lacombe and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings President and CEO Frank Del Rio celebrate the christening of the fleet's newest ship, Seven Seas Explorer in Monte Carlo. Photo credit: Mark Ashman.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises introduces Seven Seas Explorer to its fleet with this bottle-breaking christening moment. Photo credit: Preston Mack. "This is truly a special moment, not only for the Regent Seven Seas Cruises brand, but for the entire Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings family," shared Frank Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings president and chief executive officer. "Tonight we celebrate the realization of our vision. Seven Seas Explorer is not only the world's most luxurious ship - she sets a new benchmark for luxury vacations and lays the foundation from which Regent Seven Seas Cruises will continue to build. We have already begun a massive $125 million refurbishment effort to ensure every ship in our fleet matches the luxury standard found on Explorer, and will introduce a sister-ship in 2020."

During his christening remarks, Del Rio reflected upon the humanitarian efforts undertaken by Her Serene Highness as part of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation. The Foundation's mission is to save lives by teaching children and adults basic water safety techniques.

"It is an honor to be the Godmother of this magnificent ship, Seven Seas Explorer. I am also thrilled by the discussions taking place between my Foundation and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings to implement my Water Safety program on all their ships. Developing awareness of the risks attached to aquatic environments is, for me, a cause of most importance," stated Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene.

Seven Seas Explorer delivers an unrivaled luxury cruise experience. The ship features extravagantly designed theaters and lounges, an unparalleled collection of opulent and spacious suites, five lavish gourmet restaurants and an unprecedented level of personalized service. At 55,254 gross-registered tons and carrying only 750 guests, the all-suite, all-balcony ship boasts one of the highest space ratios and lowest crew to guest ratios in the cruise industry, not to mention the largest private verandas in the cruise industry and a new category of luxury suite, the nearly 4,500-square foot Regent Suite. The luxury liner's maiden voyage will take place July 20, 2016, and will spend its inaugural season in Europe before heading to Miami for a series of Caribbean voyages.

Carnival Corporation Opens Arison Maritime Center for World-Class Safety Training
Carnival Corporation & plc today announced the official opening of the Arison Maritime Center, its world-class facility dedicated to providing rigorous safety training for its bridge and engineering officers responsible for the navigation and operation of the world's largest fleet of cruise ships.

Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman Micky Arison, along with his wife Madeleine, officially opened the company's Arison Maritime CenterThe new 75-million-euro facility in Almere, Netherlands, just outside Amsterdam, was celebrated with a ceremony honoring longtime board chairman Micky Arison and his father Ted, founder of the company, that was attended by the company's global leaders, board members and government, community and business officials.

The centerpiece of the seven-acre campus is a new and more than two-times-larger Center for Simulator Maritime Training Academy (CSMART), Carnival Corporation's world-renown maritime training, professional development and research facility that began operations in Almere in 2009. The center will feature bridge and engine room simulators that utilize the most innovative technology and training solutions in the maritime industry, modeled closely after the technology and practices used in the airline and other industries.

"The opening of the new Arison Maritime Center and expansion of our CSMART Academy is a major milestone in our company's history and an exciting day for all of us at Carnival Corporation," said David Christie, senior vice president of maritime quality assurance for Carnival Corporation. "The safety and comfort of our guests and crew is our most important priority, and the Arison Maritime Center underscores the depth of our commitment to making sure our ships sail as safely as possible. Our bridge and engineering officers are the heart and soul of our ship operations, and this center takes to a new level our dedication to providing our officers with the maritime industry's most comprehensive and progressive safety training."

Added Christie: "With 10 cruise line brands sailing 11 million guests a year to over 700 ports around the world, we take tremendous pride in having a team of highly trained, skilled and prepared officers operating the bridges and engine rooms on our ships. With the new Arison Maritime Center and CSMART Academy officially up and running, our tradition of excellence and continuous improvement in safety training is stronger than ever."

At 110,000 square feet, the environmentally friendly facility is more than double the size of the company's current facility, allowing Carnival Corporation to provide annual training to over 6,500 officers and engineers across the company's 10 cruise line brands. It will also include an advanced medical center and an 11-story, 176-room hotel for Carnival Corporation trainees.

The CSMART Academy will feature four full-mission bridge simulators and four full-mission engine room simulators designed to provide a wide array of programming and simulated exercises that can recreate an extensive range of maritime scenarios. The new five-story facility will also include 24 part-task engine simulators, eight debriefing rooms and eight part-task bridge simulators -- all designed to provide participants access to the visual elements of 60 ports around the world including Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Singapore and Glacier Bay, Alaska.

The state-of-the-art technology provides high-quality maritime training services that reflect real-world scenarios and sea conditions including ship traffic, aircraft interference, weather events and wildlife circumvention. Modeled after the newly designed bridge of the Koningsdam from the company's Holland America Line, CSMART Academy's full-mission bridge simulators provide an authentic shipboard experience for participants to build skills in navigating complex control and automation systems.

Like the bridge simulators, the full-mission engine room simulators are based on actual ship layouts and systems, scaled to size and representing a diesel electric engine room comprising six diesel generators and two propulsion motors, along with ancillary and auxiliary equipment. The simulators allow trainees to navigate their way around the actual engine room of a ship to operate and repair equipment, with the genuine sights, sounds and even temperatures found in a cruise ship's engine room.

The new facility and team of highly experienced CSMART Academy instructors have developed a curriculum that sets the industry standard for safety and maritime training and keeps pace with advances in ship technology, fostering critical thinking, problem solving, decision-making and confidence.

The CSMART Academy has played a leading role in developing and refining a function- and team-based bridge and engine room management system on a large scale. This approach is based on roles rather than ranks, with officers operating as a coordinated team, with each officer assigned a role for specific functions. It also includes encouraging team members of all ranks and seniority to speak up to challenge or question a decision.

In keeping with the faculty team's leadership, the Arison Maritime Center will provide the additional space needed to implement the industry's first Proficiency Training and Assessment (PTA) program. The week-long course is based on a specially developed curriculum that annually refreshes and then evaluates each of the corporation's maritime officers.

With its scale, technology and equipment, and innovative training approach, the new facility will be the most progressive maritime center of its kind in the world for training and continually improving industry-wide safety and excellence.

Cunard Creates New Cocktails Inspired by Their Knighted Commodores
Cunard's iconic cocktail bar the Commodore Club has revealed a new and distinguished menu sharing the unique story of the Knighted Cunard Commodores. Each historic and decorated story is infused into the cocktail experience with a modern menu design, illustration and superb new signature cocktails. These new and fresh additions to the renowned bar, found in prime locations on each of the Cunard Queens, highlight the incredible craftsmanship that has gone into each drink. Cunard's talented onshore and on board bar teams have carefully mixed ingredients reflective of the personalities of these celebrated men.

Cunard Creates New Cocktails Inspired by Their Knighted CommodoresExpertly mixing ingredients to create cocktails such as 'Punch Romain à la Carpathia', believed to be the last libation served aboard Titanic. The intriguing cocktail inspired by Commodore Sir Arthur Rostron who led the safe rescue of all survivors of Titanic features Advocaat as the signature ingredient.

The recent $132 million remastering of the Queen Mary 2, provided Cunard with an opportunity to add contemporary enhancements to the bar interior, and with a number of new food and beverage concepts being launched across the entire fleet. One of the first to be available on every Cunard Queen is the transformed flagship cocktail menu for the popular Commodore Club.

Steering the fleet forward through their unfaltering precision and expertise, Cunard Commodores have led the fleet across the sea for almost two centuries. Alongside the number of knighted Commodores, Cunard is also honoured to claim more knighthoods, seven, among its Captains than any other cruise line.

Cunard worked with illustrator Lauren Crowe to bring to life these seven rejoiced men, beautifully creating intricate pencil illustrations of each of the knighted Commodores, inspired by their steep history and stories. The remarkable new depictions of these respected individuals are presented within a bold contemporary menu design that takes inspiration from Cunard's rich maritime past. Together with the illustrations, part of the new designs include a set of distinct and striking monograms specifically crafted to represent each individual Commodore, subtly referencing an aspect of the Commodore's story.

"Cunard has continued to receive recognition as a leader in world exploration within its more than 176-year history," said Richard Meadows, President, Cunard North America. "We are proud to recognize seven of the most decorated Cunard Commodores in Queen Mary 2's iconic Commodore Club, who have led the Cunard fleets and flagships throughout the company's illustrious past. Inspired by character and history, each cocktail has been thoughtfully created to honor their remarkable stories."

Guests of the Commodore Club on board Queen Mary 2 can enjoy one of seven newly designed cocktails, including 'Over the Top, inspired by Commodore Sir James Charles (1865-1928). Known for doing things on a grand scale, this Commodore's dinner parties aboard Aquitania were well renowned as opulently social affairs, and this aromatic and refreshing sharing cocktail is extravagantly presented, just the way Sir James would come to expect.

MSC Cruises Further Enriches Kids Entertainment Across Fleet
MSC Cruises today announced exciting additions to its already rich family cruises offerings that includes the introduction of an innovative kids sports program, DOREBRO; a kids-dedicated interactive cooking class designed with Michelin-starred chef Carlo Cracco; and a new, exclusive MSC Cruises ship toy developed by LEGO.

MSC Cruises Introduces new innovative sports program and a new interactive cooking class for kids designed by Michelin-starred chef Carlo Cracco on board MSC Divina - sailing year round from Miami to the Caribbean."As a family-owned company, from day one we have understood and focused on the importance of offering families and their kids on-board our ships a vacation that has all the elements that can make it a truly unforgettable one for the entire family, in addition to being stress-free," said Gianni Onorato, Chief Executive Officer of MSC Cruises. "For this reason, kids-dedicated activities and other family related services have always been at the very core of our guest offering and are strengthened on an ongoing basis by further additions – thus making this element of our offering one of the richest at sea."

Across its entire fleet – which is the most modern at sea – MSC Cruises provides a very extensive offering for family vacations, including: Dedicated clubs segmented by age group as well as daily entertainment for all ages;

• Family dining options;
• Modern and fun-filled on-board facilities such as aqua parks and pools, bowling alleys and 4D cinemas; and
• Dedicated shore activities designed with the needs of the entire family in mind.

New this summer is the DOREBRO sports program, an on-board entertainment innovation designed especially for kids who love sports. Children and teens aged from 3 to 17 years old can join the program, which is now available on most MSC Cruises ships sailing in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. The program offers an exciting variety of sports and active games for all levels, broken down in two daily sessions, with activities designed for the different age groups. The program has been designed in collaboration with King's Active, the UK-based company expert in designing engaging and fun youth activities to inspire sports stars of the future.

Alongside this addition, starting this summer season, MSC Cruises has also introduced "DOREMI Chef by Carlo Cracco," a cooking class designed in collaboration with the two-starred Michelin chef Carlo Cracco. Led by MSC Cruises chefs and the on-board MSC Cruises mascot DOREMI, children aged 3 to 11 will learn, amongst other recipes, how to make homemade pasta from scratch while receiving plenty of cooking hints and tips from the globally renowned chef. Upon completion of the course, each child will receive an official mini-chef certificate signed by Carlo Cracco himself.

Finally, MSC Cruises offers its guests a wide range of on-board entertainment especially for kids, developed in collaboration with the LEGO Group, the world's leading toy producer. As part of this ongoing relationship, LEGO Group has recently launched a very special LEGO MSC Cruises toy of MSC Meraviglia – the company's new next-generation smart cruise ship that launches in June 2017 and will sail the Mediterranean for its inaugural season. This toy LEGO model – which is available for sale fleet wide at the on-board MSC Cruises Logo shop – will make the perfect souvenir for children who can then relive their MSC Cruises family vacation at home in a fun and creative way. To watch a fun video of the new LEGO toy model visit: https://youtu.be/u8qpf5grIsw

Consumers interested in winning their own MSC Meraviglia LEGO ship – typically only available on board the MSC fleet – can enter now by visiting: http://www.mscpromotions.com/lego.html.

MSC Cruises also offers a range of services for babies and young children including the Mini-Club for children under 3 as well as a dedicated childcare service giving parents the freedom to enjoy the ship, safe in the knowledge that their children are being cared for by dedicated and highly trained staff. Many of these services are offered in collaboration with Chicco – the leading global baby brand and yet another exclusive MSC Cruises partnership.

Fathom's Dominican Republic STEM Voyage Underscores its Commitment to Student Education Around the World
Fathom, the pioneer in social impact travel and Carnival Corporation's (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) 10th and newest brand, is finalizing preparations for its July 17 Dominican Republic voyage representing the first ever cruise to the Caribbean focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programming. The 7-day cruise will feature specialized STEM-focused workshops for educators that Fathom developed in close collaboration with the Center for Science Teaching and Learning (CSTL). Fathom also will play host to the fifth annual Clean Tech Competition, a unique research and design challenge for pre-college youth. Additionally, advertising students from the Gaylord College at the University of Oklahoma's (OU) student-run advertising and public relations agency Lindsey + Asp will join the sailing as part of their partnership with Fathom to promote this first-ever STEM-focused cruise to the Caribbean.

Fathom's Dominican Republic STEM Voyage Underscores its Commitment to Student Education Around the World"Since our founding, Fathom has considered experiential education a central element of the experience we are bringing to travelers and communities," said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation. "By hosting the first-ever STEM cruise to the Caribbean, we are demonstrating our commitment to education in a creative and innovative way by engaging as partners, educators and students who are actively working to advance our collective understanding and application of STEM while at the same time working to further build young leaders."

Russell has a personal reason for wanting to create this community. "Both Tyson (10) and Lucy (8) love complicated math. I want to do all I can to encourage their continuing passion. We need to make math and science and business cool and exciting for kids -– so they embrace their interests and don't feel like outsiders for studying what they love."

According to Russell, Fathom's partnership with the University of Oklahoma's Gaylord College student-run advertising and public relations agency is yet another way the company is furthering its commitment to education. "The students created an incredible project during their capstone class on behalf of Fathom, which led to an ongoing partnership between Fathom and Lindsey + Asp. Through this partnership, they have applied their classroom learning to a 'real-world' marketing opportunity – to build awareness and drive sales for Fathom," she said. "With this cruise, we have created a 'living lab' for them to put their skills to work as they promote Fathom while seeing for themselves the truly unique impact experience we provide enhanced this week by the STEM theme."

For educator programming, Fathom worked alongside Ray Ann Havasy, Ph.D., director of the CSTL, to design progressive and engaging professional development workshops to help educators continue promoting student learning of critical STEM concepts. Fathom workshops will provide specialized training and information on STEM-related teaching resources, collaborative STEM program support, and technical career development opportunities. The featured onboard programing will emphasize the following areas:

• Project based learning
• Hands-on science activity ideas and demonstrations
• Dinosaurs
• Weather
• STEM questioning techniques
• Earth science
• Endangered species

As host of the Clean Tech Competition, Fathom will welcome onboard talented 15- to 18-year old students from around the world to showcase their creative solutions to "Make an Impact" by offsetting humans' negative effects on the planet. The competition is designed to foster a deeper understanding of STEM-related concepts, recognize outstanding talent, and prepare the next generation of globally competitive innovators. The winning team will receive an award of $10,000, as well as the opportunity to develop an ongoing relationship with a professor who will serve as a long-time mentor and assist them in furthering their work and education.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 45.62 - 0.02%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 71.04 + 2.13%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.31 - 1.28%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 41.16 - 4.63%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Cabins have traditionally been referred to as staterooms. From where does the term "stateroom" originate?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
The Los Angeles Maritime Museum features a 22-foot model of this famous, albeit fictional ship?

Answer - It's the model of the SS POSEIDON, used in the 1972 movie, "The Poseidon Adventure". It cost $30,000.00 to build and it weighs 800 lbs.
courtesy of Deborah D'Ambrosi

Cruise News - July 11, 2016

New President Takes the Helm at Windstar Cruises
John Delaney is now the president of Windstar Cruises. The seasoned cruise veteran will chart a course for the boutique, small ship cruise line that prides itself on a casual yet elegant approach to smaller harbors, in-port overnights and personalized experiences around the world. His first day in office will be on July 19.

John Delaney takes the helm at Windstar Cruises.Delaney, formerly SVP of Global Marketing and Sales for Seabourn Cruise Line (a Carnival Corporation), also has significant tenure with The Walt Disney Company and Holland America Line.

"We are very pleased to welcome John on-board. Cruise vacationers and our guests have every reason to expect a new era of exciting, wonderful and memorable vacation experiences on our yachts and in the ports Windstar visits," said Andrew N. Todd, chief executive officer of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, parent company of Windstar Cruises. "Windstar just welcomed back the renovated Star Pride, and since taking ownership of Windstar in 2011, we have invested more than $40 million into our three sailing yachts and three motorized all-suite yachts, so this is an ideal time for John to join the company and contribute to its success."

From 2011 through June of this year, John was the senior vice president of global marketing and sales for Seabourn Cruise Line. Prior to that he also held a number of positions at Holland America, including vice president of revenue marketing, director of special projects at corporate audit services and manager of management advisory services.

Before working for Carnival Corporation, he spent six years at The Walt Disney Company starting as a financial analyst in food operations at The Disneyland Resort and working his way up and through various departments including senior business planner for theme park operations revenue and manager of marketing finance. After a brief stint with Gateway Business, he returned to The Walt Disney Company at Disneyland Resort culminating as director, financial planning and analysis.

John earned his BS in Business Administration and Accounting from California State University in Long Beach, California, and resides in Seattle.

First Steel Cut for Holland America Line’s ms Nieuw Statendam
Holland America Line celebrated a significant construction milestone today as the first steel was cut for ms Nieuw Statendam, due for delivery in November 2018. The ceremony took place at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, Italy, and the block being built there will later be moved to the Marghera yard where the ship will be constructed. Holland America Group’s Executive Vice President of Fleet Operations Keith Taylor was at the yard for the event.

First Steel Cut for Holland America Line’s ms Nieuw StatendamThe 99,500-ton ship — the 15th in the fleet — is the second Pinnacle Class vessel for Holland America Line, joining sister-ship ms Koningsdam that sailed its first cruise in April 2016. The steel cutting follows a period of design and development for the 2,650-guest ship that will feature enhanced Pinnacle Class amenities and innovations.

“This is an exciting time for Holland America Line, and Nieuw Statendam’s steel cutting is a milestone that signifies our continued growth and evolution as a company and a brand,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “With Pinnacle Class we have been able to try new things, expand our horizons and push boundaries, and while Nieuw Statendam is a sister to Koningsdam, we do have some new ideas that will be revealed in time.”

This is the 16th ship built for Holland America Line by Italian shipyard Fincantieri, which most recently constructed Koningsdam.

Princess Cruises Honors Love Boat Captain Gavin MacLeod for 30 Years Serving as Global Ambassador
Princess Cruises celebrated Gavin MacLeod today, the beloved award-winning actor who played Captain Merrill Stubing on the iconic “Love Boat” TV show, for his 30 years serving as the cruise line’s global ambassador. The City of Santa Clarita, Calif., home of the world headquarters of Princess Cruises, honored MacLeod by proclaiming July 6 “Gavin MacLeod Princess Cruises Ambassador Day” during a special ceremony hosted by Captain Stubing’s TV daughter Jill Whelan, aka “Vicki Stubing,” which was attended by hundreds of Princess employees and fans.

Princess Cruises Honors Love Boat Captain Gavin MacLeod for 30 Years Serving as Global AmbassadorMacLeod has now served as the cruise line’s celebrity ambassador for three decades, exclusively promoting the premium cruise line to millions of consumers through thousands of media interviews, public appearances, travel industry conferences and on board the Princess Cruises fleet, proudly sharing the joys of cruising.

Princess Cruises president, Jan Swartz, also made an exclusive announcement at the event. MacLeod will continue his ambassador duties for the line with an upcoming role as celebrity judge on the ship’s newest onboard entertainment offering, “The Voice of the Ocean.” The show is based on the excitement and spectacle of TV’s wildly popular international singing competition and is brought to life throughout the cruise with auditions, mentor rehearsal sessions, the iconic “I Want You” chairs, three charismatic team coaches and ultimately a live finale performance where guests choose the winner.

“We are so proud to honor Gavin MacLeod as our beloved global ambassador and treasure the impact he’s had on not only Princess Cruises but the entire industry over the last 30 years,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “In this role, Gavin has truly touched millions of people, sharing and listening to cherished cruise memories. If you’ve been lucky enough to swap stories with Gavin, shake his hand or take a photo, you’ve been lucky enough to experience his pure passion for cruising and love of life.”

From 1977-1986, MacLeod won the hearts of millions of viewers playing everyone’s favorite cruise ship captain on “The Love Boat,” as Princess Cruises served as the backdrop for what became one of the highest-rated primetime television shows in history. The show has been widely credited with introducing millions of viewers to contemporary cruise vacations sparking a dramatic expansion of the industry.

“I am deeply humbled by this occasion marking my 30th year serving as global ambassador for Princess Cruises,” said MacLeod. “Promoting Princess has truly been one of the highlights of my life. People still come up to me and tell me that ‘The Love Boat’ gave them something to dream about and now all these years later, cruising is a reality for millions and the growth of the industry just proves that dreams really do come true.”

With a successful career spanning more than 60 years, MacLeod is a celebrated television, film and theater actor widely known for his leading role as Merrill Stubing on “The Love Boat” and Murray Slaughter on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Recently he published a best-selling autobiography, “This is Your Captain Speaking,” starred in a two-man play “Happy Hour” in his hometown Palm Springs, Calif., and received a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.

Cunard's Queen Mary 2 Makes U.S. Debut After Extensive Remastering
Cunard's flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 sailed into its U.S. homeport, Brooklyn, on July 6 after a significant refit costing in the region of $132 million. The luxury liner has been lovingly remastered with new contemporary interior designs and guest experiences, many of which take their design inspiration from the original Queen Mary, which debuted in New York 80 years ago. The Queen Mary 2 holds a unique place in the cruise landscape, continuing the legacy of the great ocean liners and transatlantic travel.

Ella Bean, a Yorkie mix, enjoys the remastered kennels on the Queen Mary 2, the only passenger liner to carry petsA number of VIPs were in attendance at the U.S. Remastering launch which included a day of celebration and fanfare. Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc, commented on the occasion, "More than any other ship in our Carnival Corporation fleet of more than one hundred ships, Queen Mary 2 is the most famous, the most recognizable and certainly the most unique. It was the dream of our Chairman Micky Arison to build the Queen Mary 2 almost 15 years ago. He aspired to recreate that luxurious ocean liner experience from the past and Queen Mary 2 is the glorious result."

The refit was conducted in the Blohm + Voss Shipyard, in Hamburg, one of the only shipyards in the world large enough to hold Queen Mary 2. It was a 24-hour a day operation, with over one million man hours put into the refurbishment, during a 25-day period.

The Remastering Features: • The addition of 30 further Britannia Club staterooms, 15 Britannia single staterooms and five Britannia inside staterooms
• Redesign of key public spaces and restaurants, including the transformation of the former Winter Garden into the Carinthia Lounge, the introduction of The Verandah as the ship's new specialty restaurant, and the complete refresh and restructuring of the Kings Court, the ship's popular buffet area
• 12 additional kennels and other enhancements
• And as befitting the flagship of the Cunard fleet, a complete repaint of the ship exterior and significant technical enhancements and structural changes Expanded Kennels:

As the only passenger vessel to carry dogs and cats, Queen Mary 2 has expanded its kennel service during this multi-million dollar renovation. Pet travel has soared in the United States over recent years and due to increased demand, Cunard has added 12 new kennels for a total of 24. In addition, the ship extended the kennel area, adding an owner's lounge, new pet playground, and a larger outdoor area with an historic English lamppost and American fire hydrant so canines from both sides of the pond will feel at home. The artwork in the lounge was specifically created by Karen Katon-Oprey, daughter of Captain Kevin Oprey, Master of Queen Mary 2. A full-time Kennel Master takes care of daily pet responsibilities including feeding, walking and cuddling the pets onboard.

Cunard's pet-friendly policy dates back 176 years to the maiden voyage of the Britannia in 1840 when the ship sailed with a cow to provide fresh milk for passengers. Famous canines such as Rin-Tin-Tin, Elizabeth Taylor's pampered pups and the Duke of Windsor's dogs traveled on Cunard and to continue that tradition, NYC's top Instagram dogs, @ChloeTheMiniFrenchie, @WallytheWelshCori, and @EllaBeanTheDog, joined Cunard on board the ship to cut the ribbon on the new kennels.

"The remastering of Queen Mary 2 continues the transatlantic tradition by the thoughtful contemporizing of the product for today's discerning traveler, while maintaining the refined design aesthetics and service standards that are deeply based in British style and refinement. The Remastering is a testament to Cunard's attention to detail, incorporating inspiration from our past that continues to propel the powerful Cunard story, which we think will strongly resonate with today's travelers," said David Noyes, CEO, Cunard.

The essence of Queen Mary 2 lies in allowing guests to lose themselves in a world of glamour, timeless sophistication and luxury. The legendary liner experience is revered for its exceptional crew – in its 176-year history Cunard has seen seven of its Commodores knighted, an honor no other shipping company can claim. On board Queen Mary 2 today the level of expertise and tradition is not forgotten, with highly trained and attentive staff, all graduates from the ship's White Star Service Academy. From skilled personal butlers and concierge teams of the Cunard Grills to the teams of sommeliers and waiting staff across the breadth of dining venues – all are ready to cater for the needs of every guest.

Cruise Industry Trend: Women in Leadership Roles - Including Captains of Ships and Brands
When she left her home in the remote Faroe Islands and took a temporary job as a stewardess on a cargo ship, Inger Klein Thorhauge wanted most to become a wife and mother. But life at sea held such an attraction that she worked her way up through the ranks to become a cruise ship captain for Cunard.

Thorhauge is part of a sea of change at the top of the cruise industry, as women are smashing through the glass ceiling, bringing a new energy and new ways of thinking. I

n days of yore, women actually were considered bad luck in the maritime world. Today, Carnival Corporation has women in key leadership positions at all levels of the company that serves nearly 11 million cruise passengers annually. Women head three of the company's 10 brands – Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Fathom – and a woman runs Carnival Australia, representing the seven brands that operate in the region.

Captain Inger Klein Thorhauge, who helms Cunard ships, is among women with prominent roles at Carnival Corporation."The opportunities for women in the industry are the same as they are for men," said Thorhauge, who has been a Cunard captain since 2010, starting on the Queen Victoria. "As long as you work hard and are dedicated, anyone can achieve anything."

Next time you go on a cruise ship, there may be a woman at the helm. People often are surprised when they meet her, said British Captain Sarah Breton, who was named the first female captain for P&O Cruises in 2010. Currently, she captains Fathom's 704-passenger Adonia. "Particularly the women passengers often comment on how proud they are to have a female captain," Breton said.

Other maritime women are also getting noticed, and applauded. A young Italian woman, Francesca Dandriccio, a 3rd engineer, recently was recognized as Carnival Cruise Line's Leader of the Year. She's the first person from the engine department to ever receive the honor. In nominating her, Dandriccio's male bosses noted both her "brilliant technical abilities" and her ease in interacting with crew and passengers.

"We are so proud of her," said Christine Duffy, who herself broke barriers becoming the first-ever female president of Carnival Cruise Line, the flagship brand for Carnival Corporation. "There haven't been a lot of women in these roles and today you look at Carnival Corporation and there are."

Duffy said women bring a new dimension to the leadership table. "As women we do tend to have a different way of engaging. Studies have shown we tend to be more empathetic, more in touch with the human side," Duffy said.

Women have risen through the ranks in other positions within Carnival Corporation, including in the traditionally male role of heading hotel operations. Canadian Terri Cybuliak, hotel general manager on Princess Cruises' Golden Princess, said "tenacity and resilience" were two traits she had to master in order to be promoted to the job. Being competitive also helped. "I was constantly looking for new challenges and obstacles to overcome in order to prove my abilities," Cybuliak said.

Among her mentors were two women hotel general managers and her father. "My father also had a big influence in the commitment and dedication that drives me," Cybuliak said. "He had a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility, which has continued to strengthen my character as I have developed my career."

Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises since 2013, said increasing the role of women in leadership in the cruise industry makes particular sense when you consider that women typically drive travel purchases. "Women are into travel as an experience that creates family memories," Swartz said. "Most women want to create these experiences for their families, friends and loved ones and take great pride in planning trips – and more and more that includes cruises."

Being part of a company where women lead brands and also serve around the world in leadership roles is "fun, exciting and encouraging," said Tara Russell, president of the Fathom brand, which is pioneering the concept of social impact on a large scale.

"I think there's only more opportunity ahead as I look across the family of brands and the growth and vision of where we are headed corporately," said Russell, who also heads global impact efforts for Carnival Corporation. "It's one of Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald's beliefs that when you bring different perspectives to the table, you ultimately get a better outcome. I think we're seeing that every day."

The women heading the four brands have a sisterhood of sorts, Russell added.

Ann Sherry, executive chairman of Carnival Australia since 2007, and one of Australia's most influential businesswomen, has taken on the role of mentor. "I think it is incredibly helpful especially at the senior level to have a touch point for any questions that come up," Sherry said.

"Women in leadership juggle many of the same things. Many of us have children, many of us have the same conflict factors any man does in addition to some others," said Russell, who has turned to Sherry for advice. "I think it's been great and refreshing to have other women brand leaders to relate to and who empathize."

Among other women executives at Carnival Corporation are Julia Brown who heads global procurement, and Marie McKenzie, who leads global destination services and sourcing.

A woman's touch applies at Carnival Corporation even in the male-dominated shipbuilding realm. Alison Clixby, director of hotel design and projects for Carnival UK, which includes P&O Cruises UK and Cunard, has worked on shipbuilding for 25 years – most recently overseeing the "remastering" of Cunard's flagship Queen Mary 2.

She said she lucked into the job out of design school and quickly was hooked. "I think it's about opportunity," she said. "I was really lucky. I didn't know about it when I got my first job. But being in a building environment, a very sort of rough and ready dirty environment and creating is fascinating. I am now trying to mentor people to give them that opportunity."

Carnival Cruise Line's Duffy said such mentoring is important as more women seek additional career opportunities within the cruise industry. "It's about recognizing and developing talent and I see women as well as men very willing to do that for women," Duffy said. "Remember, a lot of guys have daughters and wives."

Mobile Guest Engagement Solution Sets Sail on Royal Caribbean's Exclusive Royal Suite Class
Benbria has set sail with Royal Caribbean, offering its Loop mobile guest engagement solution as a means for guests in the Star Class to connect with their dedicated Royal Genie while on land or at sea. This exclusive service made its maiden journey on Ovation of the Seas on April 15, 2016, and is now available in Star Class staterooms on five of the cruise line's signature vessels.

Loop made its maiden voyage on Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas in April of this yearWhen a Royal Suite Class guest reservation is confirmed, they are introduced to the Royal Genie service prior to boarding. The Royal Genie is a highly experienced specialist dedicated to ensuring guests ultimate cruise experience. With Loop, guests can communicate directly with their dedicated Royal Genie using their personal mobile device. Before departure, they can request special arrangements, reservations and amenities to enhance their cruise vacation. They can even inform their Royal Genie when they are arriving to the port so they can be greeted and whisked through an expedited registration process to start their holiday.

The unique guest experience continues once the ship sets sail. Star Class guests can use Loop to send instant messages and communicate directly with their Royal Genie throughout their voyage to ask questions, make dinner reservations, or inquire about things to see and do while in port. Whether on the ship or on land, guests can use their personal mobile device to ask their Royal Genie to make wishes come true, and Royal Caribbean is eager to make them a reality.

"The Royal Genie service is designed to make the guest's voyage the most memorable experience possible," commented Claudia King-McWilliams, Director of Guest Services, Housekeeping and Private Destinations at Royal Caribbean International. "With Loop, we are taking the experience to a whole new level. No matter where they are on the journey, Star Class Guests are never further away than a few simple clicks away from their Royal Genie."

While the technology behind Loop helps make the connection between the guest and the Royal Genie easier, it is the service model of the program that is making waves across the industry. The Royal Genie doesn't just tend to the guest's suite; they make the entire ship the guest's suite, crafting personalized VIP experiences tailored to their exact tastes. From planning the perfect date night to having their favorite wine waiting after a day of adventures ashore, Royal Caribbean's Royal Genie makes sure that guests have everything they want while on holiday.

"This is a great example of how Loop helps leverage technology to create that ever important emotional connection between the guest and the brand," commented Andrea Baptiste, CEO at Benbria. "It is growing increasingly challenging to establish personal connections with guests who want to have access to things quickly and anonymously using their mobile device. Royal Caribbean's innovative Royal Genie program is an exciting way to engage and delight passengers, and Benbria is excited to be a part of it. Our Loop solution is helping them use technology not just as a tool for information, but also a gateway to surprise and grant wishes for their guests."

Loop made its maiden voyage on Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas in April of this year. Since then, the technology has been expanded to include Star Class Suites on Allure of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, and the newly launched Harmony of the Seas — the world's largest cruise ship.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 45.63 + 1.72%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 69.56 + 0.65%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.34 + 1.74%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 43.16 + 5.11%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
The Los Angeles Maritime Museum features a 22-foot model of this famous, albeit fictional ship?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Only two four-stack ships were built for service on a route other than the North Atlantic. Name either of these ships and the route they were built for?

Answer - The ships were called Windsor Castle and Arundal Castle and were built for the Union Castle mail run from Southampton to Cape Town. The were re-engined in the late 30s to increase their speed to meet a new mail contract and had a graceful clipper bow fitted. Windsor Castle was lost in World War II but Arundal Castle continued in service until about 1960.
courtesy of Peter Stafford

Cruise News - July 4, 2016

Fire Onboard Black Watch Forces Cruise Cancellation
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines announced that there was a fire on board its cruise ship, Black Watch, early in the morning on July 1st 2016, in the Auxiliary Engine Room. The cruise line said that the fire was extinguished by the crew and that there were no injuries to guests or crew. Black Watch had departed from Dover on Saturday 25th June 2016, on a 13-night Portuguese Island & Cities’ cruise. There were 696 guests and 365 crew on board, the majority of whom were British nationals.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines announced that there was a fire on board its cruise ship, Black Watch, the morning of Friday, July 1st 2016The fire damaged three of the ship’s auxiliary engines, out of a total of seven, which generate electrical power on board. Some electrical power was restored to the ship shortly after the fire and the four main engines were reportedly undamaged by the fire.

Black Watch arrived in Funchal, Madeira on Saturday afternoon and the company announced that all Black Watch guests had been flown from Funchal back to the UK, into London Stansted and London Gatwick airports, on three private charter aircraft on Monday.

Following a more thorough damage assessment upon the ship's arrival in Funchal, the cruise line announced that that the Black Watch's next cruise, which was a nine-night Norwegian Fjords cruise sailing from Tilbury on Friday 8th July 2016, had been cancelled.

In recognition of the inconvenience caused, Fred. Olsen said it would offer the following compensation:
• 100% refund of the whole of the cruise fare, to arrive with guests shortly after their return home. Fred. Olsen will also be refunding guests any reasonable out of pocket expenses connected with the curtailment of their holidays
• In addition, Fred. Olsen will also offer guests a future cruise voucher of up to 50% of the fare paid for this cruise, to be used within Fred. Olsen’s current cruise program

MSC Seaview to Spend Her Inaugural Season Cruising the Mediterranean
MSC Cruises announced today that the second of its Seaside-generation smart cruise ships, set to come into service in June 2018, will be named MSC Seaview. She will spend her inaugural season cruising the Western Mediterranean, with three major ports of embarkation in history- and culture-rich Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona.

MSC Seaview to Spend Her Inaugural Season Cruising the Mediterranean"Our Company's heritage lies in the Mediterranean and it was only natural that MSC Seaview — our third next-generation smart ship which comes into service in June 2018 — would be deployed in its historic and culture-rich waters," said Gianni Onorato, chief executive officer of MSC Cruises. "Guests can now plan their vacation and experience everything that this ever popular region has to offer from on board one of the industry's most innovatively-designed ships at sea." vMSC Cruises' Seaside-generation ships are being built by Italy-based FINCANTIERI, one of the largest shipbuilding groups in the world. These new ships combine FINCANTIERI's shipbuilding tradition, expertise, Italian flair and excellence in design with the industry-leading innovation and global vision of MSC Cruises.

"We are proud of our partnership with FINCANTIERI in realizing our vision for this innovatively-designed, new generation of smart ships at sea," said Onorato.

Known as the "ship that follows the sun," the design of the Seaside-generation cruise ships embodies MSC Cruises' passion for the sea and features the highest ratio of outdoor space per guest at sea. Inspired by a pioneering beach condo concept, MSC Seaview will bring guests and the sea closer, with special design elements that allow guests to make the most of the warmer weather. For example, guests will be able to enjoy their time on board eating, drinking and relaxing outdoors in the Mediterranean sunshine with some of the best sea views in the world. They will also benefit from an increased number of balcony staterooms, sea views and public areas, with every element carefully planned to allow guests to make the most of the sea and the sunshine.

A unique design feature of MSC Seaview is the impressive 360° promenade with glass balustrades that runs around the entire ship. This stunning public space will act as a lively recreation area where guests can stroll in the open air, eat and drink al fresco from a variety of bars and restaurants or shop in the boutiques, all while enjoying the spectacular sea views.

An MSC Cruises vacation is the perfect way to discover different cultures, beauties and tastes. MSC Seaview guests will be able to experience the wonders of the Mediterranean in true MSC Cruises style, visiting sought after Mediterranean destinations including, Genoa, Marseille, Barcelona, Naples, Messina in Sicily, and Malta. In addition, a wide range of shore activities have been carefully designed to help guest discover each destination and its unique culture.

MSC Seaview is one of MSC Cruises' new next- generation smart cruise ships, employing the latest and the best technology available at sea to enable guests to customize their onboard and onshore experience so that they each enjoy a uniquely personalized cruise experience. In partnership with technology leader Samsung, the next-generation technology will include everything from the latest displays and mobile solutions to products for enhanced reality consumer retail experiences. This will include, among others:

• Near Field Communication (NFC), using a cruise card, bracelet or smartphone for a range of different options including geo-location of children, stateroom access and onboard payment.
• Interactive screens to make it simple to select excursions as well as book shows and restaurants.
• iBeacon technology that is customized to each guests' specific preferences so that they will never miss their favorite experiences and will be able to communicate with mobile devices and receive push notifications about relevant information and offers.

As with all MSC Cruises vacations, guests can expect a cruise on board MSC Seaview to be distinguished by modern and comfortable accommodations, always fresh and authentic food, award-winning entertainment, and plenty of relaxation. In addition, MSC Seaview guests will enjoy a full program of activities specially designed for families and their children across all age groups, impeccable service, and some of the best, most varied shore excursions programs in the industry.

Holland America Line Wins 'Seafarer of the Year' Award from Lloyd's List
At the 2016 Lloyd's List North American Maritime Awards, the captain and crew of Holland America Line's ms Veendam were named "Seafarer of the Year" for the rescue of a pilot who ejected from his aircraft in the Pacific Ocean. Holland America Line received the award at a ceremony in New York in May.

The plane had a parachute system and the pilot was able to safely escape into a life-raft where he was retrieved by Veendam.The "Seafarer of the Year" award recognizes the skills, bravery and professionalism that seafarers demonstrate daily. On Jan. 25, 2015, Veendam rescued a pilot 225 miles off the coast of Maui, Hawaii, who had to ditch his single-engine aircraft after running out of fuel. The plane had a parachute system and the pilot was able to safely escape into a life-raft where he was retrieved by Veendam.

"Holland America Line employees consistently strive for professional and personal excellence, and to be honored for saving a life is both humbling and rewarding," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "On behalf of Veendam's captain and crew, thank you to Lloyd's List for bestowing the honor of 'Seafarer of the Year,' a recognition we greatly appreciate."

"The officers and crew performed exceptionally well and made a dramatic rescue – I am very proud of the Veendam team," added Keith Taylor, executive vice president, fleet operations, Holland America Group, and retired Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard. "This rescue is a great reminder of the commitment all of us at Holland America Line, our sister brands and the cruise industry have in supporting rescue efforts at sea when we are near."

Lloyd's List called Veendam's award one of the "stand-out moments of the gala dinner."

"Whenever the crew of a vessel is actively involved in a rescue it shows the capabilities and the humanity of the profession," said Sander Wielemaker, Atlantic area manager DNV GL, sponsors of the award. "The master and crew, through coordination with the authorities, were able to save the life of the individual and no doubt add a moment of out-of-the-ordinary excitement for the passengers of the cruise ship."

Holland America Line participates in rescues at sea whenever called upon. Also in 2015, ms Zuiderdam rescued eight crewmembers from a sinking vessel in the Caribbean, while ms Zaandam came to the aid of seven stranded crewmembers at the Arctowski Polish research station at King George Island in Antarctica.

MSC Cruises Reveals Further Details of MSC Meraviglia
With just twelve months to go until the first guests set sail on-board MSC Meraviglia, MSC Cruises — the Swiss-based world's largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa — has today revealed further details of its first next-generation smart ship. Designed around meeting every need of its guests, MSC Meraviglia will introduce new, cutting edge ways to connect vacationers seamlessly with the experiences that matter to them, whether at sea or on land.

MSC Cruises Reveals Further Details of MSC MeravigliaWith the first cruise scheduled for June 4, 2017, MSC Meraviglia will feature the ultimate in entertainment, alongside a broad range of dining options and luxurious wellness choices. In addition to the on-board experience, the ship will spend her inaugural summer season sailing the western Mediterranean—calling at beautiful, historic destinations with a unique, highly-tailored program of discovery excursions, to immerse guests in local culture and tastes.

1. Exclusive, world-class entertainment from Cirque du Soleil The highlight of on-board entertainment will be represented by the world leader in artistic performance, Cirque du Soleil, thanks to the exclusive Cirque du Soleil at Sea partnership with MSC Cruises.

Two unique Cirque du Soleil shows will be performed on-board in the evenings, 6 nights per week, at the purpose-built Carousel Lounge. In addition, MSC Cruises will offer an exclusive on-site dinner service for up to 100 of the 450 guests booked for the show, elevating MSC Cruises' exquisite dining and award-winning entertainment to yet another level. In fact, this is a unique experience that cannot be had anywhere else at sea — or in the world, for that matter.

MSC Cruises designed a custom-made entertainment venue, the Carousel Lounge, for MSC Meraviglia and its three Meraviglia and Meraviglia-Plus sister smart cruise ships. Featuring the latest technology, this ground-breaking venue, which has been designed to meet the needs of Cirque du Soleil and its performers, will be a stunning circular performance space with a 180° circular glass wall. Constructed with the most cutting edge equipment and special rigging, the Carousel Lounge will enable Cirque du Soleil performers to deliver their world-renowned performances for the exclusive enjoyment of MSC Cruises guests.

2. Enriched family offering and cutting-edge entertainment for all ages With MSC Meraviglia, MSC Cruises continues to evolve and enrich the family options that have historically been at the core of its offering. The facilities and services for families on every MSC Cruises vacation, are designed to ensure that it is engaging for all members of the family, both together and individually.

For the first time on any MSC Cruises ship, all of the facilities for families, kids and teens are all together in a super amusement park and children's area. This means families have a dedicated area specially designed for their needs, providing a safe place for children, and an opportunity to also meet and get to know other families. This area includes the DOREMI Studio Lounge, a dedicated lounge for all family activities, DOREMI Tech Lab, a must visit destination for kids who love technology, as well as facilities designed in partnership with family experts including the LEGO Group and Chicco.

Amongst other features, the on-board Aqua Park will include four action-packed water slides, a splash pool and champagne bowl. And the Himalayan Bridge will thrill adventure seekers, who can attach themselves to a rope and cross the ship, nearly 200 feet above the water.

3. Comfortable accommodations to meet every need The innovative accommodations on MSC Meraviglia demonstrate the way that MSC Cruises puts the guest at the heart of its designs and ship building — the way in which only a family-owned business can. With 10 different types of staterooms to choose from, there really is something for everyone.

The MSC Yacht Club
MSC Meraviglia features an enhanced MSC Yacht Club with luxurious accommodation, now spanning three decks with 78 suites, 15 inside staterooms and two apartments. The two coveted apartment suites are designed with a large living room and two balconies, one of which is a large outdoor space that has a dining table for eating al fresco and a private whirlpool.

This unique "ship within a ship" concept is specially designed for guests seeking exclusivity and privacy in a world full of choice. MSC Yacht Club guests can thus enjoy the world-class entertainment, specialty restaurants and boutiques before returning to their own private, luxurious sanctuary.

With unparalleled luxury comparable to that of a private yacht, it also provides key benefits including the Top Sail Lounge, an entirely self-contained private club, offering panoramic sea views, and the One Pool Deck, featuring a private pool, whirlpool baths and solarium. A private elevator will transport guests discreetly to the MSC Aurea Spa to experience the delights of an authentic Balinese spa, with an exclusive MSC Yacht Club massage and treatment room.

Modular staterooms designed with the needs of families in mind
The trend for multi-generational vacations is further met on this ship with a clever modular staterooms system, which is unique to MSC Cruises. Up to three staterooms can be combined together to accommodate up to 10 guests.

In addition to the modular staterooms, quadruple staterooms can accommodate a family of up to four people each, with a living space in the daytime, and a sofa that turns into a comfortable bed by night – making the most effective use of space in the stateroom.

4. A truly unprecedented choice of both fine and casual dining options MSC Meraviglia makes available to her guests an unprecedented choice of both fine and casual options through 12 venues – in true MSC Cruises fashion - serving always fresh, authentic food. This starts with the buffet, open 20-hours a day, which will serve a delicious array of Mediterranean specialties and international cuisines – including ethnic, "itinerary" and wellness corners, plus a multitude of other tastes and dietary needs catered for round-the-clock.

In addition, fine dining options examples include the award-winning Kaito Sushi Bar, the new Kaito Teppanyaki Restaurant and an American-style steakhouse with specialty meats from around the world (details of additional fine dining options will be revealed over time).

5. The 315 foot long Mediterranean-style promenade Another outstanding feature of MSC Meraviglia is her impressive Mediterranean-style indoor promenade, featuring a 262 foot LED sky that creates an awe-inspiring atmosphere 24 hours a day. With stunning visuals and effects, the Promenade will be the social center of the ship and a focal point for a broad range of leisure activities. Amongst others, guests can stroll up and down, sit back and take in the atmosphere, shop until their hearts' content, or snack on delicious ice cream or crepes from Jean Philippe Maury, the award-winning French chocolatier and pastry chef.

6. Elegant pools for daytime relaxation and night-time entertainment MSC Meraviglia offers all her guests a choice of three elegantly designed pools:

• The main pool, located on deck 15 is inspired by the cool vibes of Miami's South Beach. At approximately 82 feet long, it has the most generous poolside space at sea. By night, the pool becomes a visual spectacle, illuminated with special lighting. There is also a buffet nearby with inside and outdoor dining options, providing guests with more convenience and optimal relaxation time.
• As MSC Meraviglia is the ship for all seasons, there is a 33 foot indoor pool with a magrodome that can be opened when the ship is in port or the weather simply allows for it.
• Finally, the Aft Pool on deck 16 offers spectacular views from the front of the ship, while by night is transformed into a space where guests can dance the night away under the stars.

Additionally, the private One Deck Pool, exclusively for the use of MSC Yacht Club guests, is in a coveted position at the top of the ship on deck 19 providing a quiet hideaway for relaxation.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 44.86 + 2.80%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 69.11 + 4.79%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.30 - 0.86%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 41.06 - 7.46%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Only two four-stack ships were built for service on a route other than the North Atlantic. Name either of these ships and the route they were built for?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Here's another Photo Cruise Trivia - Name the ship, and location on the ship, where this photograph was taken.

Answer - The picture is the heli pad area on QE2, know it well as we designed the bar area and canopy they now have.
courtesy of Andy C.

Cruise News - June 27, 2016

Cunard Reveals Queen Mary 2 Remastered
Cunard’s flagship liner Queen Mary 2 will set sail this month on her first voyage following an investment in the region of $132 million, one of the most significant refurbishments undertaken by the world’s most venerable passenger shipping line, now marking 176 years in operation.

On 23rd June the remastered liner sailed into Southampton Water flanked by fleet royalty Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, and was greeted by a host of high-profile guests. The vessel will then set sail for New York, continuing her schedule of iconic transatlantic crossings, a unique journey that has been enjoyed across the decades by famous personalities from the Golden Age of Ocean travel including Audrey Hepburn, Clarke Gable and Winston Churchill, to political figures and luminaries of today such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President George H.W. Bush, film maker Wes Anderson, actress Tilda Swinton, James Taylor, and many others.

The introduction of The Verandah as the ship’s new speciality restaurant“The luxury liner has been lovingly remastered with new contemporary interior designs and guest experiences, some of which take inspiration from the original Queen Mary that launched at the height of the art-deco movement in the 1930s. Cunard’s investment, marking 80 years since the original liner launched, has ensured every detail from the carpets to the curtains recalls that iconic vessel which became a symbol of British elegance.

The remastering features:

• Redesign and refurbishment of the Queens Grill and Princess Grill suites and restaurants, as well as Britannia staterooms, the latter to be fully complete by the end of the year
• The addition of 30 further Britannia Club staterooms, 15 Britannia single staterooms and five Britannia inside staterooms
• Redesign of key public spaces and restaurants, including the transformation of the former Winter Garden into the Carinthia Lounge, the introduction of The Verandah as the ship’s new speciality restaurant, and the complete refresh and restructuring of the Kings Court, the ship’s popular buffet area
• 10 additional kennels, complete with Liverpool lamp post and New York fire hydrant to make dogs feel at home in the world’s only transatlantic kennel service
• And as befitting the flagship of the Cunard fleet, a complete repaint of the ship exterior and significant technical enhancements and structural changes

Over one million man hours has gone in to the refurbishment, over a 25 day period, 594,000 square feet of luxurious new carpets (the equivalent of 10 British football pitches) has been laid, 4,000 new framed pictures have been brought on board and over 3,900 gallons of paint have been applied to the ship’s hull - are just a few examples of the sheer size and scale of these refurbishments.

The essence of Queen Mary 2 lies in allowing guests to lose themselves in a world of glamour, timeless sophistication and luxury. Alongside brand new dining experiences, guests can sample the delights of the world’s finest wine cellar at sea, with a unique collection of 486 fine wines and a stunning collection of Ports, dating back to 1840.

This modern icon also plays host to some of the finest quintessential British and international brands, with an exclusive co-branded travel collection from Aspinal of London, and sought after Cartier products available for guests to purchase whilst on board.

The transformation of the former Winter Garden into the Carinthia LoungeThe Queen Mary 2 experience is revered for its exceptional crew – in its 176 year history Cunard has seen seven of its Commodores knighted, an honour no other shipping company can claim. On board Queen Mary 2 today the level of expertise and tradition is not forgotten, with highly trained and attentive staff, all graduates from the ship's White Star Service Academy. From skilled personal butlers and concierge teams of the Cunard Grills to the teams of sommeliers and waiting staff across the breadth of dining venues – all are ready to cater for the needs of every guest.

“The significant investment into our flagship, Queen Mary 2, is indicative of our commitment to our guests, and to the special place that the ship holds, not only for those who are passionate about our famed ship, but also for the unique position she holds in the cruise landscape,” said Richard Meadows, president, Cunard, North America. “From her spectacular debut in 2004, to her current remastering, Queen Mary 2 continues to capture the imagination of those who experience her classic ocean liner voyages.”

The essence of Queen Mary 2 lies in allowing guests to lose themselves in a world of glamour, timeless sophistication and luxury. Alongside brand new dining experiences, guests can sample the delights of the world’s finest wine cellar at sea, with a unique collection of 486 fine wines and a stunning collection of Ports, dating back to 1840.

This modern icon also plays host to some of the finest quintessential British and international brands, with an exclusive co-branded travel collection from Aspinal of London, and sought after Cartier products available for guests to purchase whilst on board.

The Queen Mary 2 experience is revered for its exceptional crew – in its 176 year history Cunard has seen seven of its Commodores knighted, an honour no other shipping company can claim. On board Queen Mary 2 today the level of expertise and tradition is not forgotten, with highly trained and attentive staff, all graduates from the ship's White Star Service Academy. From skilled personal butlers and concierge teams of the Cunard Grills to the teams of sommeliers and waiting staff across the breadth of dining venues – all are ready to cater for the needs of every guest.

“The significant investment into our flagship, Queen Mary 2, is indicative of our commitment to our guests, and to the special place that the ship holds, not only for those who are passionate about our famed ship, but also for the unique position she holds in the cruise landscape,” said Richard Meadows, president, Cunard, North America. “From her spectacular debut in 2004, to her current remastering, Queen Mary 2 continues to capture the imagination of those who experience her classic ocean liner voyages.”

Royal Caribbean Signs Agreement With Miami-Dade County To Build World-Class Cruise Terminal
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced an agreement with Miami-Dade County to construct and operate a dramatic new cruise terminal at PortMiami, on land leased from the County. The new terminal will be a striking addition to PortMiami, and will serve as homeport to Royal Caribbean International ships, including a 5,400-passenger Oasis-class ship, the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ships. The agreement will come before the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners on July 6, 2016.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL), in agreement with Miami-Dade County, will build and operate a new, world-class terminal at PortMiami. The building is scheduled for late 2018.“We are truly excited to be working with Miami-Dade County and PortMiami to create not just another cruise terminal, but a truly iconic building,” said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “This new terminal is a symbol of our commitment to Miami, the city where our company first started almost 50 years ago. We can’t wait to bring an Oasis-class ship to PortMiami.”

“Miami-Dade County is happy to welcome Royal Caribbean’s expansion at PortMiami, and all the economic benefits that come along with it," said Carlos Gimenez, Miami-Dade County Mayor. “This public-private partnership will have an estimated economic impact of $500 million and generate approximately 4,000 jobs. Royal Caribbean has been an important part of our world-class community for almost 50 years, and this expansion will once again make PortMiami Royal Caribbean’s largest cruise port in the world. I thank them for their continued investment in and commitment to Miami-Dade.”

Broadway Malyan has been selected as the firm to design the new terminal, after a global competition was held between five of the world's leading architectural firms. The firm was selected because of their creative thinking and cutting-edge design.

The 170,000-square-foot terminal is nicknamed the ‘Crown of Miami’ because of its distinct shape. The design evokes the points of the symbolic headgear when viewed from the water; the ‘M’ of Miami when viewed from the east or western approaches; and a sense of waves rising or ships passing when viewed from the terminal side. At night, the terminal’s facade will be lit ensuring that the building makes a striking impression and providing a dynamic addition to the PortMiami landscape.

The new terminal will not be the only addition for Royal Caribbean in the coming year. The company has committed to add a 20,000-square-foot Innovation Lab to its corporate headquarters located at PortMiami. The Innovation Lab will continue to generate Royal Caribbean’s industry-leading, innovative vessels.

Currently, PortMiami welcomes approximately 750,000 Royal Caribbean passengers annually, representing about 15 percent of its overall passenger traffic. Once the new cruise terminal is completed, it is anticipated that Royal Caribbean will generate at least 1.8 million passengers at PortMiami – representing no less than 30 percent of the port’s projected passenger traffic.

Carnival Corporation Reports Record Second Quarter Earnings And $1 Billion Share Repurchase Authorization
Carnival Corporation & plc announced adjusted net income of $370 million, or $0.49 diluted EPS for the second quarter of 2016 compared to adjusted net income for the second quarter of 2015 of $193 million, or $0.25 diluted EPS. For the second quarter of 2016, U.S. GAAP net income, which included unrealized gains on fuel derivatives of $242 million and $7 million of other expenses, was $605 million, or $0.80 diluted EPS. For the second quarter of 2015, U.S. GAAP net income was $222 million, or $0.29 diluted EPS. Revenues for the second quarter of 2016 were $3.7 billion compared to $3.6 billion for the prior year.

Carnival Corporation & plc President and CEO Arnold Donald stated, "Our strong second quarter demonstrates continued momentum as we again achieved a near doubling of adjusted earnings per share. Our ongoing effort to drive demand for our brands in excess of our measured capacity growth has led to increased revenues and helped maintain the mid-point of our full year earnings guidance despite the recent currency movements and rises in fuel prices that combined represent a negative $0.17 per share."

Carnival Corporation Reports Record Second Quarter Earnings And $1 Billion Share Repurchase AuthorizationDonald also noted several major milestones that will contribute to the future of the company including the re-mastering of Queen Mary 2, the opening of Holland America's Denali square complex in Alaska and the introduction of AIDA Cruises' AIDAprima, Holland America Line's Koningsdam, and Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Vista. In addition, building on a legacy of pioneering achievements, Carnival Corporation became the first cruise company to begin operating voyages from the US to Cuba in more than four decades through its Fathom brand -- a historic moment that captured worldwide media coverage.

Key metrics for the second quarter 2016 compared to the prior year were as follows:

• On a constant currency basis, net revenue yields (net revenue per available lower berth day or "ALBD") increased 3.6 percent for the 2Q 2016, which was better than the company's guidance of up 1.5 to 2.5 percent. Gross revenue yields increased 1.3 percent.
• Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD decreased 1.9 percent in constant currency, compared to March guidance, up 0.5 to 1.5 percent due to the timing of expenses between quarters. Gross cruise costs including fuel per ALBD in current dollars decreased 5.4 percent.
• Changes in fuel prices (including fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates contributed $0.04 per share to second quarter earnings. 2016 Outlook

At this time, cumulative advance bookings for the remainder of the year are well ahead of the prior year at slightly higher prices. Since March, bookings for the remainder of the year are at higher prices with volumes running lower than last year because there is less inventory remaining for sale than at this time in 2015.

Carnival said that it expects full year 2016 net revenue yields on a constant currency basis to be up approximately 3.5 percent versus the prior year, compared to March guidance of approximately 3 percent. Carnival said that it now expects full year 2016 net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD to be up approximately 1.5 percent compared to the prior year on a constant currency basis, better than March guidance of approximately 2.0 percent. Changes in fuel prices (including fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates are expected to reduce full year earnings by $0.17 per share compared to March guidance.

Taking the above factors into consideration, Carnival said that it expects full year 2016 adjusted earnings per share guidance to be in the range of $3.25 to $3.35, compared to March guidance of $3.20 to $3.40 and 2015 adjusted earnings of $2.70 per share.

Donald noted, "This is shaping up to be another strong year for our company as we expect over 20 percent earnings growth and are approaching a nine percent return on invested capital. We have accelerated progress toward our stated goal of achieving the double digit return threshold and have accelerated distributions to shareholders. We recently raised our dividend by 17 percent to over $1 billion per year. Since October, we have repurchased nearly $1.9 billion in shares under our stock repurchase program. Yesterday, our Board of Directors approved our third $1 billion share repurchase authorization demonstrating confidence in our outlook and reinforcing our commitment to return value to shareholders."

Third Quarter 2016 Outlook

Third quarter constant currency net revenue yields are expected to be up 2 to 3 percent compared to the prior year. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD for the third quarter are expected to be 6 to 7 percent higher on a constant currency basis compared to the prior year driven by the timing of advertising expense and the re-mastering of Queen Mary 2 in dry-dock. Changes in fuel prices (including fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates are expected to increase third quarter earnings by $0.01 per share compared to the prior year.

Based on the above factors, Carnival said that it expects adjusted earnings for the third quarter 2016 to be in the range of $1.83 to $1.87 per share versus 2015 adjusted earnings of $1.75 per share.

Explore the Galapagos Islands Like Never Before
Where the fittest survive, modern luxury thrives. Celebrity Cruises has today revealed its exciting new cruises onboard its newest ships in one of the most dynamic corners of the world – the Galapagos Islands.

Explore the Galapagos Islands Like Never BeforeDiscerning travelers now have even more options with the addition of two distinct new ships, Celebrity Xploration and Celebrity Xperience, which begin sailing in March 2017, following a multi-million dollar refresh per vessel for signature modern luxury enhancements. Both ships offer a wide all-inclusive range of indulgences and land excursions while sailing new itineraries. Guests can continue to sail onboard Celebrity's state-of-the-art 100-passenger Celebrity Xpedition. Together, the three stunning ships will offer six unique itineraries, 15 islands, more than 30 ports of call, and multiple packages to choose from.

Celebrity Xploration and Celebrity Xperience are both uniquely intimate. Ideal for travelers seeking a tight-knit community of like-minded vacationers, Celebrity’s Xploration is a beautiful catamaran featuring eight luxurious staterooms, each with a window or veranda offering unforgettable views. The larger Celebrity Xperience offers a similar modern luxury experience to guests staying in its 24 stylish staterooms. Regardless of the ship, each stateroom features deluxe accommodations with upgraded premium mattresses and pillows, plus luxurious bedding - all to create the most comfortable bed in the Galapagos. In addition, each room will have LCD TVs and high-speed internet service will be available throughout the ship. All vacations feature award-winning shore excursions led by expert naturalists, specially crafted meals, featuring fresh regional seafood and fish, by Celebrity’s Michelin-starred chef. Guests can also enjoy regional coffee, chocolate and other delights, premium spirits, a curated wine list, and service from the best staff at sea.

"With more than 12 years in the Galapagos Islands, guests have told us that we are best-in-class at providing award-winning vacations in this unique corner of the world,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Now we are offering the trip-of-a-lifetime onboard our newest ships with itineraries featuring ports of call we’ve never visited before and experiences that are exclusive to Celebrity. If a modern luxury vacation in the Galapagos Islands wasn’t on your bucket list before, it definitely should be on it now!”

Onboard Celebrity’s new ships, guests experience some of the most distinctive islands in the world through the ultimate modern luxury lens. Packages range from seven to 15 nights, and feature northern and southern loop itineraries:

Celebrity Xperience

• Guests can choose from seven-night, 10-night or 13-night, all-inclusive vacations
• New ports-of-call include Mosquera Islet, Black Turtle Cove, Cerro Brujo, Santa Fe, Darwin Bay and El Barranco - famous for its Prince Philip steps leading to vast seabird colonies of Nazca and Red-Footed Boobies
• Launching today and exclusive to Celebrity is a new Xperiential Travel 13-night itinerary. Guests can get up close and personal not only with the Galapagos wildlife but with the people who reside in the islands' communities. After spending two nights exploring Quito, Ecuador, sailing for seven nights, guests will disembark the ship and begin a three-night experience, which includes:
• Accommodations in a seaside hotel in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island
• A visit to a local farm or green house to gather provisions that will later be used to prepare an exclusive dinner with a professional chef at a local restaurant
• Time with a local fisherman in search of a special catch of the day for a special dinner with the chef that evening. Vacationers will learn about responsible tourism that fuels and helps preserve the islands while encountering wild species of fish. After, guests can visit a private beach to snorkel and swim


• For the ultimate experience in the Galapagos, guests can charter their own ship for a seven-night, all-inclusive vacation with a variety of choices of pre- and post-cruise experiences
• New ports-of-call include El Barranco, Darwin Bay, Espumilla Beach, Mosquera Islet, Chinese Hat, Kicker Rock, Cerro Brujo, Walls of Tears and Puerto Villamil - the small town home to the Galapagos Giant Tortoise Center

In addition to the two new ships, travelers can continue to sail on the award-winning Celebrity Xpedition with seven-, 10-, 11- or 15-night, all-inclusive vacations. Launched in 2014 to mark the 10th anniversary of sailing in this region of wonder, immersive and inspiring land excursions exclusive to Celebrity are available to guests sailing on the ship. These experiences range from dining on authentic cuisine prepared by local residents to contributing to the protected islands through the Scalesia Reforestation Project - a unique partnership with the Galapagos National Park.

Grand Circle Cruise Line Announces New Small Ship Cruise Tour to Cuba
Alan E. Lewis, chairman of Grand Circle Cruise Line, the leader in small ship cruising worldwide, today announced that it will begin operating Cuba's Cultural Treasures: A Coastal Voyage, an 11-night, 89-passenger cruise tour from Miami to Cuba in January 2017. Grand Circle will be one of the first cruise lines to operate in Cuba and the only U.S cruise line to offer a cruise experience with fewer than 100 passengers.

Grand Circle Cruise Line Announces New Small Ship Cruise Tour to Cuba"More than 7,000 Americans have traveled to Cuba with us through our Grand Circle Foundation since November 2011 and have been moved by Cuba's warm and welcoming people, rich history, and vibrant culture," said Lewis. "We are excited to introduce our new small ship itinerary in Cuba and to offer further opportunities for Americans and Cubans to forge new friendships."

Cuba's Cultural Treasures: A Coastal Voyage will begin in Miami where, following an overnight and morning tour of Miami's Little Havana, travelers will embark the 89-passenger M/V Clio. The ship will sail around Cuba's northern, eastern, and southern coastline for the next seven days—stopping in port towns and cities that reveal Cuba's complex history, natural beauty and cultural vibrancy. Along the way, travelers will experience the Afro-Cuban traditions of Matanzas and the tranquil small cities of Caibarien and Remedios, discover the historical legacy of Santiago de Cuba, and explore the picturesque colonial streets of Trinidad and the artistic legacy of Cienfuegos. Travelers will disembark their ship in Cienfuegos and drive overland to Havana, where they will spend the next three nights in Cuba's capital city before departing for home. (A reverse itinerary beginning in Havana and ending in Miami is also available).

Throughout this People-to-People itinerary, travelers will meet Cubans from all walks of life and experience their myriad passions and traditions, including music and baseball. They will visit a casa particular, a restaurant run in a private home, to savor a lunch of authentic Cuban dishes—and talk with baseball players during a visit to the oldest, continuously utilized baseball diamond in the Western Hemisphere. Travelers will enjoy Cuban music and dance performances and will meet painters, basket makers, ceramists, writers, and musicians throughout the country. They also will take part in discussions with local experts on a variety of topics, including Cuba's economy, Afro-Cuban religions, the history of the National Ballet, daily life in Cuba, and more—and they'll learn how to cook a few local specialties, play the popular game of dominoes, and dance the traditional casino (Cuban salsa).

Princess Cruises Showcases Local Expert Speakers
Princess Cruises guests aboard Regal Princess sailing to Scandinavia and Russia this summer now have the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the destinations with an impressive line-up of speakers who will come aboard overnight to share their personal stories, local expertise and passion for the places they call home.

This unique speaker series, developed in partnership with Cruise Baltic, is part of the new industry-first "Local Connections" program, aimed to inspire the cruise line's guests by sharing the pride the company's port partners have for their destination, while taking full advantage of the suggestions and creativity of those partners who know the destination best.

Princess Cruises Showcases Local Expert SpeakersPrincess Cruises Showcases Local Expert Speakers to Regal Princess Guests in the Baltic "As part of our new 'Local Connections' program, we developed an impressive speaker series we are certain our guests will enjoy in partnership with Cruise Baltic," said Bruce Krumrine, vice president, global shore excursions, Princess Cruises. "From a local journalist, ballerina, chef, musician and historian, these are just some of the vibrant personalities who will bring the memorable destinations of the Baltic to life for our guests."

More than 70 speakers will join Regal Princess during the summer 2016 Baltic cruise season. Highlights include:

Pia Allerslev, Mayor – Copenhagen, Denmark
Allerslev is the Mayor of the Children and Youth Administration in the City of Copenhagen and a member of the Copenhagen City Council for the Danish Liberal Party. She began her political career in 1991, where she was elected Chair of the Liberal Youth Party in her former hometown. Prior to becoming Mayor of Children and Youth, Allerslev was Mayor of Culture and Leisure for six years. Earlier she worked as a teacher gaining valuable insights into the public sector by working in the public school system. Now she is shaping the conditions herself as a politician and a Mayor.

Maris Hellrand, Estonia Stories -Tallinn, Estonia
Hellrand is a multilingual freelance journalist and consultant who tells engaging and enriching stories about Estonia to international audiences. She is passionate about travel, music, design, architecture, cinema, international affairs, innovation, start-ups, and education. After nearly two decades as a global nomad, Estonia has become the professional focus (and a private paradise) for her. Her countless stories about Estonia have reached TV, radio and magazine audiences in Germany, France, United Kingdom, and Scandinavia.

Evgenia Brileva, Ballerina – St. Petersburg, Russia
Brileva was born into an artistic family as the daughter of a ballet dancer and a musician. As a backstage child, she was naturally devoted to acting, dancing and piano playing. At the age of 10 she toured to Germany with her father performing pieces by Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. She learned photography from her grandfather, a press photographer of famous Pravda Newspaper. Brileva's background is a blend of Russian culture that includes ballet, music, fine art & photography, which has been all the more enriched and inspired by the beauty of her mother city.

Ingreid Rudefors, Director – Stockholm, Sweden
Rudefors is a Swedish director, writer and film producer. She spent the first part of her professional life in New York, where she traveled after high school to study theater. In the late 1980's, she was active in the New York independent film industry. She currently works as film commissioner in Film Region Stockholm Malardalen.

Sonya Antoni, Historian - Waremunde, Germany
Sonya hails from an international surrounding and upbringing: born with a British mother and a German father, she grew up in Iran and South Africa, returning to her father's country to study English and French Literature and Linguistics as well as Psychology in Germany, England and France. Her choice of the University of Potsdam set her path for tourism as the World Heritage Sites of Sanssouci Parks and Palaces were a haven for the art lover. Participating in the new tourism programme of the Potsdam City Council and of the Foundation Prussian Parks & Palaces she soon became inseparable from the city's history combining it with contemporary politics from the German capital a stone's throw away.

"We're proud to showcase some of the beautiful destinations of Northern Europe that we call home to Princess Cruises guests," said Claus Bødker, director, Cruise Baltic. "The dynamic line up of speakers we've secured together, will offer guests authentic and passionate personal stories, as well as an unforgettable glimpse into our local culture, history and way of life."

Additional elements of the "Local Connections" program include a video series of local port partners sharing their insights, experiences and recommendations of the places they call home, new and exclusive shore excursions, new port welcome and departure experiences, and an insider's guide including "cool things" made in each port.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 43.64 - 10.02%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 65.95 - 13.37%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.32 - 2.93%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 38.21 - 13.59%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Here's another Photo Cruise Trivia - Name the ship, and location on the ship, where this photograph was taken.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Here's one from a 1967 booklet put out by the Trans-Atlantic Passenger Steamship Conference - What is the name of the small rope, tied to the end of a hawser on a ship. The rope is thrown ashore, and by it one end of the hawser is hauled to the pier.

Answer - The "Sapphire Princess" was severely damaged by a fire while under construction in Japan. The "Diamond Princess" under construction at the same yard was renamed "Sapphire Princess" and went into service. The damaged ship was repaired and came into service later as the "Diamond Princess".
courtesy of Larry P. MacDonald

Cruise News - June 20, 2016

Ovation of the Seas Visits Hong Kong
Royal Caribbean International continues to make waves in Hong Kong’s cruise history. At the end of October, the cruise line will homeport it’s Ovation of the Seas flagship cruise liner in Hong Kong for a season of five premium cruises to popular destinations such as Japan and Taiwan. Ovation of the Seas is the largest and most advanced cruise ship ever to call Hong Kong home.

A sister ship to Quantum of the Seas which impressed the city with its visit last year, the 16-deck, 168,000 ton Ovation of the Seas is the third vessel in Royal Caribbean’s ground-breaking Quantum Class, the second largest cruise class in the world.

Ovation of the Seas Visits Hong KongTo enable Hong Kongers to get a first-hand glimpse of the massive ship, Royal Caribbean arranged for Ovation of the Seas to visit Hong Kong today (17 June) and stay for one night en route her 52-day maiden voyage from Europe to Tianjin, China for a naming ceremony officiated by the first ever Chinese Godmother Fan Bing Bing. The Ship was officially delivered to Royal Caribbean on April 8th 2016.

The grand entrance of Ovation of the Seas into Hong Kong was marked with a prestigious ceremony graced by senior government dignitaries and key industry stakeholders. These included the Honorable Gregory So Kam-leung, GBS, JP (Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development); Mr Philip Yung, JP, (Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development - Commerce Industry and Tourism); Miss Cathy Chu Man-ling, JP (Commissioner for Tourism); and Mr. Anthony Lau (Executive Director, Hong Kong Tourism Board). They were joined by executives from the cruise line including Mr. Michael Bayley (President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International) and Mr. Flemming Nielsen, Captain of the Ovation of the Seas.

To mark the event, a themed ovation to Hong Kong was arranged in keeping with the vessel’s name to celebrate the occasion. This “Cel-Ovation of the Marvels of Hong Kong” drew parallels between Hong Kong’s achievements and those of Ovation of the Seas in offering a world class “Cruise Extraordinary” experience to Hong Kong people.

The event paid tribute to Hong Kong’s achievements and those of Ovation of the Seas in five specific areas -- Technology, Art, Culinary, Entertainment and Sports.

To this end, Royal Caribbean presented trophies to five Hong Kong celebrities who have achieved regional or global acclaim in the five areas. For Technology the trophy went to science whiz Chan Yik Hei, dubbed "Son of the Star"; for Art it went to music prodigy Wong Ka Jeng, for Culinary it went to the esteemed chef, Ricky Cheung; for Entertainment it went to dance producer Mak Chau Shing; and for Sports it went to speed climber Lisa Cheng, Hong Kong's very own ‘Spider Girl'.

The ceremony was followed by an extensive tour of the ship that enabled the guests and dignitaries to experience first hand some of the unique Quantum-Class innovations paralleling the five achievements of Hong Kong that Ovation of the Seas offers.

These included the North Star aerial observatory, a technological marvel that hoists guests in a glass capsule more than 300 feet above the ocean for incomparable panoramic views; the RipCord by iFLY skydiving and FlowRider surfing simulators; VOOM the fastest internet at sea, and SeaPlex, a unique multi-purpose sports complex enabling a variety of activities, including the first-ever-at-sea bumper car experience. The ship also features an iconic on-deck art piece of a giant panda “Mama and Baby” – which is considered a symbol of good luck and a national treasure in China.

But the ship doesn't stop there. It also offers an extraordinary exhibition of art from the Forbidden City Palace Museum in Beijing – a first on any ocean going cruise liner - together with an exceptional range of 18 innovative culinary offerings including a Jamie’s Italian restaurant from the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and Wonderland, a whimsical restaurant with an elaborate feast for the senses. Guests were also able to see the 1,300 seat Royal Theatre and the Music Hall where Ovation of the Seas hosts Tony-award winning Broadway shows and Las Vegas style theatrical productions.

The arrival of Ovation of the Seas in Hong Kong caps a successful second year for Royal Caribbean’s operations in the city. Despite predictions that this would be a challenging year for Hong Kong tourism, Royal Caribbean is actually expanding its investment in the Hong Kong market by extending the homeport season of Voyager of the Seas from 3 months to 4 months, bringing Ovation of the Seas to the city in the end of October 2016, and providing additional fly-cruise options with other vessels in the Royal Caribbean fleet including Harmony of the Seas, the largest ship in the world.

Mr Bayley said, “At Royal Caribbean we are setting a new standard bringing high-quality, world-class premium cruising right to the doorstep of Hong Kong cruise lovers. In the past, this level of cruising could only be enjoyed by first travelling overseas. Our wish and our goal is to be able to offer Royal Caribbean cruises to this market not just for a season each year, but all year round as part of the mainstream travel market.”

“2016 is the first year that Royal Caribbean has ever had two ships homeporting in Hong Kong at the same time. Having both Voyager of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas here will enable us to increase our total Hong Kong sailings from 20 to 30 this year and welcome over 100,000 vacationers which is about a 43% increase compared to last year.”

Balwin Yeung, Director of Sales and Marketing for Royal Caribbean Cruises Hong Kong, emphasized the company’s confidence in the Hong Kong cruise market, “With more and more of Royal Caribbean’s state-of-art cruise ships deploying in Hong Kong, we are creating new tourist attractions for the city. As a destination in itself cruising will become a new reason for tourists to visit and re-visit Hong Kong, contributing to both inbound and outbound tourist growth.”

Ovation of the Seas, together with Quantum of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, and Legend of the Seas, will make up the largest fleet of any cruise line sailing from China.

Norwegian Dawn Sets Sail For Bermuda As A New Ship
Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dawn sailed into her seasonal homeport of Boston this morning as an essentially new vessel, following a month-long dry dock where she received enhancements to every part of the onboard experience, from two brand new restaurants and three new bars and lounges, updated design and décor in all public spaces, to a refurbishment of all staterooms including a complete makeover of the ship's signature Garden Villas, some of the largest suites at sea. Norwegian Dawn's extensive renovation is a part of The Norwegian Edge™ program, a $400 million investment that sets a new standard of excellence for the Norwegian brand, encompassing the entire guest experience.

Norwegian Dawn Sets Sail For Bermuda As A New Ship"As with each of the ship refurbishments in the Norwegian Edge program, this was not your average dry dock," said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief operating officer. "Norwegian Dawn was brought down to the steel in many spaces and rebuilt to evoke the look and feel of the newest Norwegian ships, allowing guests sailing on her to enjoy all of the freedom and flexibility that only Norwegian offers, along with a more premium experience from bow to stern."

Norwegian Dawn's guests will have several new restaurants, bars and lounges to enjoy after the ship's refurbishment. A new concept for the Norwegian fleet, Los Lobos Cantina is an upscale Mexican restaurant that offers a modern take on traditional favorites like guacamole prepared tableside, al pastor tacos, enchiladas de mole and hand crafted margaritas, all available à la carte. Los Lobos Cantina will open on July 1. A guest favorite, O'Sheehan's Bar & Grill is making its debut on Norwegian Dawn today, and features signature sports bar décor while offering favorite pub fare and beers on tap. Wine lovers now have a chance to sip and savor their favorite vintages at The Cellars, a Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar as the former Pearly King Pub has been completely transformed into a modern, upscale wine bar offering tastings and engaging educational events. Sugarcane Mojito Bar will serve up more than 15 varieties of mojitos in a modern lounge area on Deck 13 adjacent to the new location for Moderno Churrascaria. Finally, Spinnaker Lounge was transformed into the Bliss Lounge, offering a larger space for guests to relax and enjoy a cocktail, with refinished bar fronts, new contemporary accents, furniture and carpeting.

The dining experience onboard Norwegian Dawn will be further enhanced with extensive renovations to all of the existing complimentary dining venues. The Venetian and Aqua both feature a completely new look, with enhancements including new wall coverings, carpet and hardwood flooring, entry signage, artwork, ceiling finishes, reupholstered furniture, lighting, and window treatments. Bamboo Asian Restaurant also has undergone a complete refurbishment with fresh carpet and hardwood flooring, new furniture including tables, barstools and chairs, updated artwork throughout the space, new decorative and architectural lighting, along with window treatments and wall finishes. The Garden Café has undergone a redesign with new layout for smoother service that features upgraded flooring, artwork, decorative lighting, wall finishes, signage and furniture.

Specialty restaurants will also have a new upscale look and feel throughout the ship. Le Bistro and La Cucina have exchanged locations, with each space presenting a premium dining experience that is brought to life with new décor including updated carpet, furniture, decorative lighting and signage. Moderno Churrascaria resides in a new location on Deck 13 adjacent to Sugarcane Mojito Bar and features all new décor, furniture, window treatments, wall coverings and artwork that evokes the restaurant's Brazilian theme. Teppanyaki restaurant was completely renovated and doubled in size with two additional tables, new flooring and décor and the addition of a divider between Bamboo and Teppanyaki for a more private experience. Cagney's Steakhouse showcases a modern look with new décor, furniture, updated artwork, new carpet, wall finishes, decorative lighting and modified, more open layout where guests can enjoy Certified Angus Beef steaks and those delectable truffle fries.

The ship's existing bars and lounges will also offer a fresh experience, with Gatsby's Champagne Bar debuting with brand new furniture, flooring, decorative lighting, artwork, window treatments and an art deco-inspired chandelier. The Cigar Bar will feature new tile flooring, draperies, furniture, plus an enhanced new humidor.

Every stateroom on the ship was enhanced during this renovation, receiving new carpets, bedding, drapery, artwork and furniture. The dry dock also allowed for a complete makeover of the ship's two Garden Villas, now featuring a more clean and modern look with brand new flooring and furniture inside and out, new ceilings, lighting, bedding, décor and flat screen TVs.

As with the recent enhancements to several other Norwegian ships, Norwegian Dawn's public spaces, elevators and restrooms were refreshed from top to bottom to receive an updated look with new contemporary design, as well as new lighting, flooring, wall coverings and wall sconces to give the full ship that "new ship" look and feel.

The ship's Atrium features a new modern and clean look with plush carpet and new lighting, chic furniture and a new lounge seating area, as well as enhancements to the Guest Services reception desks. Tides, a brand new shopping venue offering a wide selection of fine jewelry, was added to the Atrium. The ship's existing shopping venue Ports O'Call has been renamed Tradewinds and also received a complete makeover with new finishes, lighting and flooring, as did the ship's Library.

Norwegian Dawn also offers guests easier ways to view and purchase mementos of their cruise vacation with an upgraded Photo Gallery featuring new individual digital monitors and larger photo display panels, along with sleek furniture and tile flooring.

The ship's pool deck was completely refurbished to create a brighter and livelier atmosphere for sun-seekers with new decking and new awnings to give the open deck a sleek, yacht-like feel. Additionally, the main pool deck received new exterior showers, upgraded pool loungers, and a fresh look to all exterior corridors. The Bimini Bar overlooking the main pool deck was completely refurbished and now features a completely new design and look. Kids and kids at heart sailing aboard Norwegian Dawn can now enjoy an upgraded Entourage teen space and video arcade with built-in entertainment areas, new carpeting and wall finishes and new modern furniture.

Entertainment venues such as the Dawn Casino and Stardust Theater were also touched by this extensive renovation. The Dawn Club Casino now incites an air of excitement with more colorful signage, new artwork, wall finishes, carpets, bar tops and a more luxurious and exclusive VIP area. Guests sailing aboard Norwegian Dawn will now be able to enjoy headlining shows Band on the Run, Showdown and Elements in a refreshed Stardust Theater with reupholstered and re-cushioned seating, as well as new carpets and drapery throughout the expansive theater.

Guests looking to unwind after enjoying all that the new Norwegian Dawn has to offer can do so in the completely redesigned Mandara Spa and Pulse Fitness Center, offering state-of-the-art Techno Gym equipment. The Mandara Spa received a new look and layout-- elevating the spa experience with refreshed sleek décor, updated treatment rooms and newly added spaces including a barber shop, nail salon, spa pool and eight heated loungers in the luxurious thermal suite.

Norwegian Dawn will sail from Boston to Bermuda each week through October, spending three nights in port, and from New Orleans to the Western Caribbean -- including a call at Harvest Caye, Belize, the Caribbean's premier resort-style port of call -- during the winter season, beginning in November.

Viking Cruises Founder Commemorates Five Norwegian Ports Of Call For New Ship
Viking Ocean Cruises today announced that its founder and chairman, Torstein Hagen, has commemorated the arrival of the company's new ship, Viking Sea, in five new Norwegian ports of call. A Norwegian native, Hagen celebrated his family's heritage during the traditional maritime plaque ceremonies attended by local officials, harbor masters, directors of tourism, and mayors. During his time in Norway, Hagen participated in optional shore excursions available to Viking guests, including visiting the northernmost brewery in Tromsø and eating freshly caught King Crab near Honningsvåg; he also went fishing for lunch in Bodø. This is the first time Viking has sailed into these ports in Northern Norway, along with Brønnøysund and Ålesund, all of which are part of the company's new Into the Midnight Sun itinerary that cruises between London and Bergen.

The new 930-passenger Viking Sea, docked in Alesund, Norway on the first sailing of Viking's new Into the Midnight Sun itinerary that cruises between London and Bergen, Norway.During his visit, Hagen and Viking Sea's captain, Gulleik Svalastog, presented commemorative plaques, guided tours of Viking Sea, and discussed how Viking can help support the tourism industry through its sailings in Norway and its destination-focused approach to cruise itineraries. The participating mayors, who also spoke about their respective tourism initiatives, included: Mayor of Tromsø, Mr. Jarle Aarbakke; Mayor of Nordkapp, Ms. Kristina Sigurdsdottir Hansen; Mayor of Brønnøysund, Mr. Johnny Hanssen; and in Bodø, Mayor Ms. Ida Maria Pinnerod and Port Director, Ingvar Mathisen.

Addressing repeat Viking travelers at a Viking Explorer Society cocktail party Hagen stated, "Sir Richard Branson says space is Virgin territory. I say Scandinavia is Viking territory. No other cruise line can show you this part of the world like Viking can. I have known for years that there is nothing better than Norway in the summer, and I am happy to now be able to share the beauty of my native Norway with you, our Viking guests."

Christened in May, Viking's second ship, Viking Sea, was recently awarded the highest-available editor rating of five stars by Cruise Critic, marking the second consecutive five-star rating for the company's expanding ocean fleet. Classified by Cruise Critic as "small ships," Viking's ocean fleet of 930-passenger sister ships are well-suited for Scandinavian and Baltic itineraries – their size allows for privileged access to smaller ports, getting guests closer to their destinations.

Scandinavian design and heritage are central to the Viking brand and are in the details and understated elegance onboard the new ocean ships. Clean lines, woven textiles and light wood evoke the Viking spirit of discovery and connection to the natural world. Features include:

• Explorers' Lounge – In the two-deck Explorers' Lounge at the bow of the ship, the décor was inspired by ancient Viking trade routes and navigation methods – imagery of star constellations and astronomical maps are complemented by antique globes, astrolabes and sofas with cozy pelts.
• LivNordic Spa – In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa onboard is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind—from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a Snow Grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air.
• Wintergarden - Guests looking for serenity will find it in the Wintergarden. In this elegant space under a canopy of Scandinavian-inspired trellised wood, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service.
• Dining Choices – Viking's ocean ships offer multiple restaurant locations and food choices—including The Chef's Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu with wine pairings and a new Scandinavian Bistro menu in its rotation, and Mamsen's, which serves Norwegian deli-style fare based on the recipes of Hagen's mother, Ragnhild, otherwise known as "Mamsen."
• Scandinavian Art – Guests onboard Viking's ocean ships enjoy an original art collection that showcases a diverse group of Scandinavian artists, many of whom are Norwegian, and a variety of mediums and approaches. The collection is based on the idea of "The Traveler as The Collector," just as the Vikings once were and other explorers have been. Artists represented in the collection include Edvard Munch, H.M. Queen Sonja of Norway, Jakob Weidemann and many others.
• Viking Exhibition – Located on Deck 2, Viking's ocean ships feature a Viking Heritage Exhibit that contains artifacts and information about the lives and exploration of early Vikings.
• Onboard Boutique – Redesigned for the launch of Viking Sea, the onboard boutique features a curated selection of Scandinavian products, including clothing from Norwegian brands Helly Hansen, Oleana, and Dale of Norway.

The 15-day Into the Midnight Sun itinerary provides an in-depth exploration, from the northernmost reaches of Norway to the remote outposts of Scotland's Shetland and Orkney Islands. The itinerary also visits Edinburgh, London and the Hanseatic League city of Bergen.

Fathom Announces Onboard Entertainment Options and Flavorful Regionally Inspired Foods
Fathom, the pioneer in social impact travel and Carnival Corporation's 10th and newest brand, today shared details of regional cuisine crafted by Fathom's globally recognized Dominican chef Emil Vega, who leads the development of Fathom's specialty restaurant concept Ocean Grill. Fathom also unveiled more details about its variety of onboard recreational activities.

Fathom Announces Onboard Entertainment Options and Flavorful Regionally Inspired FoodsAward-winning veteran chef and renowned Dominican Republic culinary expert Chef Emil brings to Fathom a lifelong passion for food and vast hospitality industry dining experience. Emil has earned a global reputation as a celebrated food innovator who brings a modern aesthetic to traditional Dominican Republic cuisine, inspiring culinary creations that add a perfect touch to Fathom's onboard food offerings. From a delicious Grilled Seafood Salpicón to Crema de Frijoles Negros, guests can indulge in a wide range of Dominican and Cuban inspired food and culture, helping them further immerse and understand the cultures they will experience.

"I set out to create for travelers an extraordinary, authentic Caribbean culinary experience that allows them to savor a range of gastronomical possibilities featuring regionally inspired ingredients," said Chef Emil. "Fathom understands that an important aspect of immersing in any unique culture is to explore its cuisine, which we are happy to make available to travelers from the moment they step aboard Fathom's Adonia."

Sample Ocean Grill Dishes include:

• Grilled Seafood Salpicón – Grilled octopus, calamari and shrimp served cold with Caribbean mojito vinaigrette and crispy yaniqueque
• Cuban Ropa Vieja – Deep-fried plantain basket filled with Cuban-style shredded beef served with a spicy red pepper jam
• Mofongo and Aguají – Traditional mash of roasted pork belly, green plantain and garlic served with spicy mayonnaise

• Pescado con Coco (Fish Criollo and Coconut) – Fillet of fresh red snapper in an authentic island coconut sauce, served with clams, shrimp and yucca fritters
• Vegetarian Pastelón – Layers of ripe plantain, queso fresco and sautéed spinach served with roasted vegetables and spinach sauce
• Bistec Encebollado – Seasoned beef filet with caramelized onions, yucca fritters, sweet plantain and chimichurri salsa

• Dulce de Leche Cortada – Dominican sweet caramel milk curds with vanilla and salted caramel ice cream and yucca dumplings
• Guava n' Cheese – Guava paste with queso fresco and roasted gustoso pepper syrup
• Majarete Crème Brûlée – Classic Cuban sweetcorn custard served with corn caramel and cinnamon, caramelized popcorn and sweet potato biscuit

"We are eager for Fathom travelers to delight in the delicious regionally inspired menu Chef Emil has created and to immerse themselves in the flavors and ingredients indigenous to the Dominican Republic and Cuba," said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation. "Chef Emil is a talented and passionate culinary expert who truly is an artist when it comes to Caribbean cuisine. He is one of the top talents in the Caribbean, and we are grateful to have him as part of the Fathom family."

Fathom Announces Onboard Entertainment Options and Flavorful Regionally Inspired FoodsIn addition to the many culinary delights found onboard, guests can participate in many engaging onboard impact workshops, dance and cocktail classes, and various leisure activities and entertainment options while preparing for their unforgettable on-ground experience. They also may treat themselves to one-of-a-kind products – from artisan crafts to hand-crafted jewelry to sustainably produced attire to environmentally friendly beauty products – at Fathom's exclusive retail outlets featuring products with a purpose.

Fathom's core onboard programming includes fun, interactive and educational sessions with Impact Guides, the first people Fathom travelers meet when they board the MV Adonia. Impact Guides introduce travelers to the Fathom experience and share additional information and guidance to equip them for the week. Travelers can celebrate at a Superpower Party that helps them discover their own individual superpower and unleash their inner greatness. During an onboard Spanish class, they can learn popular Spanish expressions, practice Spanish language pronunciation and learn basic conversational phrases, which will be invaluable for approaching their time onshore.

Curiosity Advantage and Design Your Life – two workshops created by Curiosity Atlas, a design firm focused on driving curiosity and innovation – prepare guests for their on-ground experiences through an exploration of curiosity. Curiosity Advantage increases cognitive flexibility to help travelers take on challenges with a newfound sense of wonder. The workshop provides travelers with a 'Curiosity Quest' to utilize during their on-ground experiences. Design Your Life session applies the principles of design thinking to a travelers lives and to help them discover the areas where they are truly committed to making an impact.

Fathom and Ashoka – a network of social entrepreneurs dedicated to accelerating lasting social change – collaborated to develop three different workshops enabling travelers to practice changemaking and discover their own potential to create positive change in their communities. Based on these three workshops, guests walk away having committed to at least one changemaking act and having reflected deeply on their surroundings while developing their own personal changemaker story through Ashoka's proven storytelling methodology.

Other onboard programs include morning mediations to start each day with a clear mind, a Fathom kick-off event with live music and an introduction to the Fathom ethos, and the popular Lifehack Bootcamp that provides the tools for getting more done in less time and using that extra time to make the impact on the world. Additional core onboard programming includes:

• Dominican Republic Orientation
Fathom helps travelers become acculturated to life in the Dominican Republic so they may experience their time on-ground with a sense of "comfortable discomfort" within this new environment.

• Story of You
In this workshop, travelers identify a moment of transformation in their lives and work through the components that make a great story. They learn how powerful their life story is and practice the tools to help them tell their story in a clear and meaningful way.

• Story of Impact
This activity helps travelers create and express their story as a specific "before and after" transformation based on their week on-ground in their destination. Interactive exercises practice story creation methodologies so travelers disembark their journeys with a sense of confidence in sharing their stories.

• Story Circle / Story of You 2.0   Travelers are introduced to ways to make their stories more powerful. They share stories in front of small groups who give facilitated feedback, and they also receive tips on how to speak powerfully in front of others.

• Guided Relaxation
Guided Relaxation, also referred to as Yoga Nidra, provides travelers time to rest, relax and clear their minds following the day's stimulation.

• Fathom You and Beyond
This final session with each Fathom cohort provides moments of reflection, ways to engage in next steps and resources for further impact.

In addition to the core onboard programming, travelers also may participate in leisure activities, such as a photography class, book club, karaoke, giant outdoor game night, classic board game night, mojito and flan movie night, domino throw down, and a wine and paint class to name a few.

Once Fathom travelers arrive in the Dominican Republic, they have a wide variety of options for how to spend their three days on the island. They can choose from a variety of activities, including participating in social impact projects, enjoying the many beautiful Dominican beaches or participating in select recreational activities and tours available to the entire family of Carnival Corporation brands operating in the Caribbean region. Social impact activities include projects focused on economic, educational and environmental development, appealing to a wide range of individual passions and skills. During these activities, travelers work directly alongside community members and Fathom's partner organizations carrying out tasks that will have an immediate and lasting impact, tailored specifically to what the community needs most.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 48.50 + 3.99%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 76.13/FONT> + 4.46%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.39 - 1.65%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 44.22 + 0.89%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Here's another Photo Cruise Trivia - Name the ship, and location on the ship, where this photograph was taken.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Here's one from a 1967 booklet put out by the Trans-Atlantic Passenger Steamship Conference - What is the name of the small rope, tied to the end of a hawser on a ship. The rope is thrown ashore, and by it one end of the hawser is hauled to the pier.

Answer - The "Sapphire Princess" was severely damaged by a fire while under construction in Japan. The "Diamond Princess" under construction at the same yard was renamed "Sapphire Princess" and went into service. The damaged ship was repaired and came into service later as the "Diamond Princess".
courtesy of Larry P. MacDonald

Cruise News - June 13, 2016

Royal Caribbean To Homeport Ovation of the Seas in Singapore
Royal Caribbean International today announced that it will homeport its billion-dollar smartship Ovation of the Seas in Singapore in 2017 for one season, bringing thousands of travellers to the region and injecting millions into the local and regional economies.

The announcement was made during Ovation of the Seas’ maiden call in Singapore, where a plaque and key ceremony was held in the presence of over 200 government and industry partners, with Mr Lionel Yeo, Chief Executive of Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Mr Alexander Hungate, President and Chief Executive Officer of SATS, and Ovation of the Seas’ Captain Flemming Nielsen. The ship has ended her 14-night cruise from Dubai to Singapore.

Royal Caribbean To Homeport Ovation of the Seas in SingaporeMaking history as the first international cruise line to deploy a brand new ship to Asia for homeporting, Ovation of the Seas was delivered in April. At 347m long, 168,666 gross registered tonnes, carrying 4,905 guests in total and laden with first-at sea features and technologies, the smartship will be the largest and most technologically-advanced ship to call Singapore home next year.

Over her 10 sailings from March to April 2017, Ovation of the Seas is expected to add some 42,000 additional guests to the Singapore cruising scene, and delivering millions through in-port spend. She will offer return trips ranging from 3 to 5 nights to Penang, Phuket, Bangkok (Laem Chabang), and a one-way cruise to Tianjin with calls at Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) for an overnight, Hue/Danang (Chan May), Hong Kong and Seoul (Incheon).

Royal Caribbean’s Senior Vice President, International, Mr Gavin Smith said, “We’re thrilled to bring one of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to Singapore and the region, and take cruise travel here to new heights.

“Joining Mariner of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas, the addition of Ovation of the Seas means we will have the largest cruise fleet deployment of any brand in Southeast Asia.

He said, “Our investment reaffirms our commitment to Singapore and the region, and the bright future we see for the region’s cruising industry.”

Mr Smith further shared with the deployment of Ovation of the Seas, plus the return of Voyager of the Seas in May and Mariner of the Seas in October, this will increase Royal Caribbean’s capacity in 2017 in Southeast Asia by 30 per cent over 2016.

Mr Yap Chin Siang, Assistant Chief Executive (Policy and Planning), Singapore Tourism Board, said: “The homeporting of the Ovation of the Seas is a testament to the appeal of cruising from Singapore. It is also very timely - the upcoming Visit ASEAN@50 celebrations in 2017 will highlight the best of Southeast Asia, and cruises offer the perfect way to experience the warm hospitality of the region.

“We also hope that this deployment will spur the region to enhance cruise infrastructure to accommodate more ships like the Ovation. As the lead co-ordinator for Cruise at ASEAN, Singapore will continue to work with our neighbours to develop our region into a preferred cruising destination.”

Guests on board the 18-deck smartship will enjoy the ‘North Star’, an observation capsule that rises 92 metres over the ocean; ‘Two70’ – a S$18.5 million hi-tech entertainment venue; cocktails served by robots at the ‘Bionic Bar’; skydiving and surfing experiences; interior virtual balconies with real-time ocean views; luxurious Loft suites with large living areas and private concierge service; and ‘SeaPlex’, the largest indoor activity space at sea – housing a basketball court, circus school, roller-skating, bumper cars, and more.

Ovation of the Seas also boasts 18 restaurants with cuisines from around the globe, including imaginative cuisine at Wonderland, and Jamie’s Italian by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver; the fastest internet connection speeds at sea; and a collection of artwork valued at more than S$6 million.

Ovation of the Seas will embark on a 3-night cruise to Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang) tomorrow with a record 4,576 guests on a cruise ship for Singapore. She will then depart for her summer Tianjin season on a 12-night repositioning sailing on June 12, calling at Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), Hong Kong (overnight), Xiamen and Seoul (Incheon). She will also make a repositioning cruise back to Singapore later this year.

Viking Announces 10 New Ocean Cruise Itineraries
With the newly christened Viking Sea now part of its growing ocean fleet, Viking Ocean Cruises (www.vikingoceancruises.com) today announced the addition of 10 new itineraries to its offerings for 2017 and 2018 sailings. Adding more than 30 ports of call to Viking's portfolio, the new itineraries will explore destinations throughout Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean, including Cuba.

"As we continue to grow our fleet, we have more opportunities to offer guests new and different options for experiencing the Viking way of destination-focused cruising, an approach that is completely unique in the industry," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "Our guests are experienced travelers who are curious about the great art, history and cultures of the world, which is why we design our ships and itineraries to help immerse them in the destinations they visit."

Viking Announces 10 New Ocean Cruise ItinerariesViking's new ocean itineraries will bring guests to more iconic destinations around the world, providing rich cultural experiences with each port of call. With sailings from Bergen, London, New York, Puerto Rico, Venice and more, guests can choose itineraries ranging from eight-day to 22-day multi-country sailings. Full details on the new 2017 – 2018 offerings can be found on Viking's website here; new ocean itineraries include:

• Trade Routes of the Middle Ages – (From Bergen to Barcelona; Sailing on Viking Star, September 2017; May 2018) – During this 15-day itinerary, guests will follow the trade routes of the Middle Ages. Setting sail from Bergen, Norway, guests will explore a total of seven different countries and 10 ports with storied naval histories including Amsterdam, Paris, and two ports each in England, Portugal and Spain.
• Venice, the Adriatic and Greece – (From Venice to Athens; Sailing on Viking Sun and Viking Spirit, October 2017; July – August 2018) – Guests will walk the cobbled streets of four countries and seven cities along the Adriatic Sea coast, as they cruise from Venice, Italy to Athens, Greece. The eight-day itinerary, starts with two days in Venice, where guests can stroll the alleyways and learn about the city's glassmaking tradition before calling on Croatia, Montenegro and the many ancient sites of Greece to follow.
• South America and the Caribbean – (From San Juan to San Juan; Sailing on Viking Sea and Viking Sky, October – December 2017; January – March 2018) – Experience the Caribbean's most southerly ports during this 11-day itinerary, taking in the rich cultures and bright colors of six countries and seven ports. As guests cruise the Caribbean, they'll take in the lively ports of San Juan, Puerto Rico and historic Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, while also visiting the turquoise blue waters of Aruba and Curacao. This itinerary will also call on ports in South America including Cartagena and Santa Maria, Columbia and Venezuela's capital, Caracas.
• New York, Bermuda and the Western Indies – (From New York to San Juan; Sailing on Viking Sea and Viking Sky, October 2017; September 2018) – Guests will set sail from New York and continue down to the Caribbean during this 15-day cruise, which visits a total of nine countries and ports. Starting in "The City That Never Sleeps," guests will soon be exploring the vibrant tropical destinations of Bermuda, Guadeloupe, St. Kitt's, St. Martin, St. Thomas and more. Adding to the scenic views, guests can explore these port of call's many UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the way.
• Iconic Cities of the Western Mediterranean – (From Barcelona to Rome; Sailing on Viking Sun and Viking Spirit, November – December 2017; January – February, April, July and September 2018) – The French Riviera and Italy's renaissance treasures take center stage as guests embark on this eight-day Mediterranean itinerary. Guests will explore iconic ports including Barcelona, the resort town of St. Tropez, the glamour of Monte Carlo and cities throughout the rolling hills of Tuscany, before saying farewell in Rome.
• Central American Shores and Cuba – (From Miami to Miami; Sailing on Viking Sun, December 2017) – Guests will experience the diversity of the Western Caribbean during this eight-day itinerary through four countries and five ports. Spending two days in Havana, guests will stroll the colonial streets and engage in authentic Cuban experiences. Followed by ports of call in Cozumel, Mexico and Belize City, Belize for crystal-clear snorkeling opportunities or mysterious Mayan ruins. Finally, take in all the offerings of carefree Key West with its historical US landmarks before returning to Miami.
• From the Caribbean to the Amazon – (From San Juan to San Juan; Sailing on Viking Sea, December 2017) – A truly unique itinerary, guests on this 22-day cruise experience a rich variety of ports throughout the Caribbean and South America, including sailing into the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil. From the jungle along the Amazon River, guests will call on ports where they will enjoy the blue waters and Caribbean island culture including Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico and more.
• Southern Mediterranean Discovery – (From Rome to Barcelona; Sailing on Viking Star, December 2017; January – March 2018) – An eight-day cultural sojourn throughout the southern Mediterranean, guests will enjoy an enriching experience as they visit timeless Rome, sample local produce in Sicily or marvel at the medieval structures in Sardinia. Guests will also get a taste of modern-day Tunis and the Casbah of Algiers, before ending their cruise in the vibrant cities of Valencia and Barcelona, Spain.
• British Isles Explorer – (From Bergen to London; Sailing on Viking Sun, May and August 2018) – Exploring the British Isles from north to south, guests will be immersed in the rich cultures and cosmopolitan treasures during this 15-day cruise as they visit ports including: remote Viking outposts of Shetland and Orkney Islands, the legendary Scottish Highlands, uniquely beautiful Wales, and the vibrant cities of Dublin, London, Bergen and more.
• Italian Sojourn – (From Rome to Venice; Sailing on Viking Sun and Viking Spirit, April and July-August 2018) – Stopping at a total of seven ports between Italy and Croatia, guests will take an Italian journey to some of the most culturally significant cities. Starting in the Eternal City of Rome and continuing onto Naples, where guests will enjoy its world famous culinary delights, Sicily to take in views of Mt. Etna and the Mediterranean, and discover UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bari, Italy and Sibenik, Croatia. This eight-day itinerary culminates in the picturesque Venice port.

Also recently announced, Viking's fourth ship, Viking Sun, will set sail on its maiden voyage in December 2017 for the company's first-ever world cruise, spanning 141-days and visiting five continents, 35 countries and 66 ports. Sailing from Miami to London, this epic Viking journey will explore the world's legendary cities, ports and will allow guests to immerse themselves in the rich cultures around the world.

Harmony of the Seas Brings Big Adventures To Barcelona
Royal Caribbean International's President and CEO, Michael Bayley, sent off the cruise line's newest ship, Harmony of the Seas, as she departed on her inaugural cruise from her summer homeport of Barcelona, Spain this week. Coming off of receiving stellar guest satisfaction scores and feedback on its first repositioning cruise, from Southampton, U.K. to Barcelona, the world's largest cruise ship is sailing an exclusive five-night Western Mediterranean itinerary with visits to Rome (Civitavecchia) and Naples, Italy at full capacity, with guests representing more than 34 countries.

Harmony of the Seas Brings Big Adventures To BarcelonaA perfect vacation choice for families this summer, guests will enjoy a bold and unexpected lineup of thrilling features as they sail to the most popular Mediterranean destinations. The ship combines the distinct seven-neighborhood concept that Royal Caribbean's Oasis class of ships are known for with some of the most modern and groundbreaking vacation amenities, including the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea with a 10-story plunge; robot bartenders at The Bionic Bar, powered by Makr Shakr; interior staterooms with virtual balconies that provide real-time views of the destinations, and VOOM – the fastest internet at sea – so that guests can stay connected, stream their favorite entertainment and share their adventures with family and friends back at home.

Harmony of the Seas' inaugural summer season will offer seven-night Western Mediterranean itineraries, showcasing Europe's most popular destinations – Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence (Marseilles), France; Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy. The adventure-packed ship will reposition to the U.S. in November, where she will make Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, FL her permanent homeport.

Holland America Line Collaborates with Top Sushi Chef
Whether it's a popular California roll or a more exotic sushi creation, Holland America Line's shipboard chefs are learning from the best in a collaboration with renowned Sushi Chef Andy Matsuda. Not only will Matsuda share his knowledge and train the shipboard chefs to ensure that the cruise line's staff is at the forefront of sushi trends and techniques, but four of his signature rolls will be featured on the dinner menu at Tamarind, the award winning Asian-fusion restaurant on board several Holland America Line ships.

Holland America Line Collaborates with Top Sushi Chef Andy MatsudaThe Japanese-born chef brings more than 35 years of sushi-making experience and 15 years of teaching to the premium cruise line, and he began his collaboration and training aboard the line's newest ship, ms Koningsdam. At Matsuda's Sushi Chef Institute in Los Angeles, California, he teaches aspiring chefs and professionals from all over the world about sushi and Japanese cuisine. More than 1,300 graduates of the institute have gone on to careers in sushi restaurants or have become restaurateurs themselves.

"Sushi is extremely popular with our guests, and creating it is an art form that requires specific skills, techniques and in-depth training," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "We are excited to collaborate with an expert of Chef Matsuda's caliber to ensure that our chefs are creating the most exceptional sushi at sea. Anyone who enjoys sushi is going to be very impressed by the presentation and flavors in his creations."

Guests can enjoy Matsuda's four signature rolls on Tamarind's dinner menu. They are a Tempura Lobster Roll with lobster tail, unagi sauce, avocado and asparagus; Nigiri Seared Salmon with green olives and capers; Dragon Roll with tempura shrimp, unagi sauce, avocado and asparagus; and Nigiri Tuna Zuke with yuzu-flavored tuna and guacamole sauce. Tamarind is on board ms Koningsdam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam and ms Eurodam.

The Asian-fusion Tamarind restaurant also serves sushi selections on the full dinner menu. Selections feature Spider Roll with soft shell crab tempura, California Roll, Tsutsumi Roll with snapper and avocado, Spicy Tuna Roll, Veggie Rainbow Roll, Volcano Roll with sesame-marinated salmon and Thai chilis, and Nigiri sushi with tuna, salmon and ebi shrimp. Tamarind on ms Koningsdam also features a sushi counter with eight seats where guests can enjoy watching the chefs prepare the fresh sushi.

Matsuda learned the joy of cooking at his family's Japanese restaurant when he was a child, and he went on to have an apprenticeship at Genpachi, one of the most famous restaurants in Osaka, Japan, before bringing his sushi skills to Los Angeles. Following a battle with cancer he sought a deeper understanding of the relationship between food, health, people and the environment, which he then parlayed into becoming one of the world's foremost sushi experts.

Carnival Valor Inaugurates Port Canaveral’s Newly Renovated Terminal 5
arnival Valor Inaugurates Port Canaveral’s Newly Renovated Terminal 5 BORDER=Carnival Valor inaugurated Port Canaveral’s recently renovated Terminal 5, departing on an eight-day Caribbean cruise this past weekend.

The $48 million project included an expanded terminal that can accommodate ships of up to 3,500 passengers, a longer 120-foot-long pier, a new 1,044-space parking garage, and new mobile passenger boarding bridges.

Carnival is the largest cruise operator from Port Canaveral with Carnival Valor, Carnival Magic and Carnival Victory offering year-round departures and Carnival Sunshine sailing seasonally. Together these four ships carry more than 650,000 passengers annually from the Space Coast – the most of any cruise operator.

Princess Cruises Reveals Next Stephen Schwartz Musical Production
Princess Cruises today revealed the second musical production show created in collaboration with Oscar-, Tony- and Grammy-winning composer Stephen Schwartz and his team of professional creators, entitled – "Born to Dance" - a tribute to Broadway choreography featuring inspired performances that celebrate some of Broadway's most-famous hits. The new show, created and directed by Daniel C. Levine, is scheduled to debut exclusively on Princess Cruises, fall 2016.

Princess Cruises Reveals Next Stephen Schwartz Musical Production"Born to Dance" is a is a high energy nod to dance, highlighting some of Broadway's most acclaimed choreographers and brought to life through the most memorable songs from iconic shows including "West Side Story', "A Chorus Line", "Chicago" and more. "Born to Dance" celebrates many of Broadway's most acclaimed choreographers and dancers, giving viewers a glimpse into what it takes to be a professional dancer. The show pays tribute to many of Broadway's trail-blazing choreographers, including Bob Fosse, Jerome Robbins and Gower Champion. In addition, some of today's hottest choreographers and dancers make virtual appearances in the show through video and multi-media projection, including Tony winners Andy Blankenbuehler ("Hamilton"), Rob Ashford ("Evita") and Karen Ziemba ("Chicago").

"Celebrating the role dance plays on Broadway through famous musical hits from some of the most famous Broadway shows in history was Stephen's vision for the highly-anticipated second musical production in our partnership," said Adrian Fischer, vice president, entertainment experience for Princess Cruises. "'Born to Dance' will no doubt deliver an uplifting, feel-good show with our guests leaving the theater feeling energized, happy and nostalgic after enjoying dance performed to so many beloved Broadway songs."

"Dan Levine, creator and director of 'Born to Dance,' inspired me with his vision of a show that pays tribute to the larger-than-life choreographers who have shaped Broadway and the dancers whose passion brings their work to life," said Stephen Schwartz. "I was honored to propose this show to Princess and for Dan and I to work closely with them refining its structure and song list, assembling a world-class creative team and securing the participation of some of Broadway's most accomplished choreographers and dancers."

"Born to Dance" premieres aboard Star Princess in fall 2016, followed by Grand Princess and Golden Princess in early 2017.

The "Born to Dance" production team includes:

• Daniel C. Levine, (Creator and Director of Born to Dance) has appeared on Broadway and in the Broadway national tours of "Mamma Mia!", "Little Shop of Horrors", "Jesus Christ Superstar", "Chicago" and "Les Miserables". He is also the creator, producer, and director of "Broadway Backstage!" which is currently touring throughout the United States.
• Al Blackstone, (Choreographer) is an acclaimed choreographer, performer, and educator as well as a recipient of the 2011 Capezio A.C.E. Award for Choreographic Excellence. He recently choreographed for the hit TV show So You Think You Can Dance.
• Bryan Perri, (Musical Director) is currently the music director and conductor of the Broadway production of "Wicked". He was musical director of "Chaplin" on Broadway where he also contributed vocal and dance arrangements.
• William Ivey Long, (Costume Designer) is a six-time Tony Award winner and acclaimed designer for Broadway productions including Rodger's and Hammerstein's "Cinderella", "The Producers" and "Hairspray".
• Beowulf Boritt, (Scenic Designer) is a Tony Award-winning set designer. His past Broadway scenic design work includes "Act One", "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee", "Lovemusik", and "Chaplin". He is nominated for a Tony again this year for the play Therese Raquin.
• Caite Hevner, (Project and Media Designer) has designed over 100 productions in New York City and across the United States. Her work has been seen on Broadway in many productions including "No Man's Land", "Macbeth", and the recent revival of "On The Town".
• Jack Mehler, (Lighting Designer) has served as lighting designer for a wide variety of musicals, dance, plays and corporate projects. He received the 2013 Korean Musical Theatre Award (Korean Tony) for "Rebecca" and the 2012 award for "Elisabeth".

This partnership between a cruise line and a major creative talent from Broadway and Hollywood includes a multi-year collaboration to oversee the creative development of a total of four new musicals to debut across the fleet over the next several years. This adds to the cruise line's "come back new" brand promise, by elevating the onboard guest experience resulting in more transformative moments, lifetime memories and meaningful stories to share from a cruise vacation.

The first musical production of the Stephen Schwartz partnership, "Magic to Do" debuted to rave reviews in fall 2015, and is currently entertaining guests aboard Crown Princess, Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess. The show celebrates his lifelong fascination with magic and combines thrilling illusions with some of his most famous songs, such as "Magic to Do" from "Pippin" and "Defying Gravity" from "Wicked."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 46.64 - 0.91%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 72.88/FONT> - 4.34%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.43 - 2.41%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 43.83 - 3.46%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Here's one from a 1967 booklet put out by the Trans-Atlantic Passenger Steamship Conference - What is the name of the small rope, tied to the end of a hawser on a ship. The rope is thrown ashore, and by it one end of the hawser is hauled to the pier.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
When is a Sapphire Princess not a Sapphire Princess? The current Sapphire Princess sailing for Princess Cruises had a different name when construction started. What was her original name and why did it have to be changed.

Answer - The "Sapphire Princess" was severely damaged by a fire while under construction in Japan. The "Diamond Princess" under construction at the same yard was renamed "Sapphire Princess" and went into service. The damaged ship was repaired and came into service later as the "Diamond Princess".
courtesy of Larry P. MacDonald

Cruise News - June 6, 2016

Royal Caribbean to Sell Legend of the Seas
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today that it has entered into an agreement to sell its cruise ship Legend of the Seas to Thomson Cruises in the spring of 2017.

Royal Caribbean to Sell Legend of the Seas"Since its inaugural sailing, Legend of the Seas has created many wonderful memories for hundreds of thousands of guests, and we expect this successful history to continue as she transitions to Thomson Cruises," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "While she will be missed, her transition supports Double-Double and our objective of moderate capacity growth."

Legend of the Seas' final sailing will commence on March 13, 2017, and all officers and crew will remain with the company and will be transferred to other vessels worldwide after the ship leaves the Royal Caribbean International fleet. This transaction will result in an immaterial gain which will be recognized upon delivery of the ship.

Legend of the Seas joined the Royal Caribbean International fleet in 1995, and was built by Chantier's de L'Atlantique, now STX France, in St. Nazaire, France. The 69,130-gross-registered-tons ship carries 1,832 guests (double occupancy) and 726 crew.

First Steel Cut For Seabourn Ovation
Seabourn has taken a giant step forward toward the launch of its next new vessel, Seabourn Ovation, with the commemorative cutting of the first steel. The ceremony, held today at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy, was presided over by Seabourn President Richard Meadows and Genoa shipyard Director Raffaele Davassi.

Richard Meadows, President of Seabourn, and Raffaele Davassi, Director of the Fincantieri Shipyard, Celebrate the Steel Cutting of Seabourn Ovation in Sestri Ponente"The cutting of steel is a significant milestone in the creation of Seabourn Ovation, as well as the continuing evolution of the Seabourn fleet and the ultra-luxury cruise segment," noted Meadows. "We are excited to witness this important step and look forward to seeing the ship come together. With Adam D. Tihany's extraordinary design vision and the excellent craftsmanship of Fincantieri, Seabourn Ovation will be matched only by its sister ship, Seabourn Encore, as the most beautiful ultra-luxury vessel ever built."

Scheduled to join the Seabourn fleet in spring 2018, Seabourn Ovation will expand and build upon the line's award-winning and highly acclaimed Odyssey-class ships, which revolutionized ultra-luxury cruising with enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they were first introduced between 2009 and 2011. Seabourn Ovation will maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest, enabling a highly personalized level of service.

Sister ship Seabourn Encore will debut in late 2016, and with the addition of Seabourn Ovation, Seabourn will have the youngest and most modern ultra-luxury fleet in the industry.

Designed by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany, Seabourn Ovation will feature modern design elements and innovations consistent with the line's reputation for understated elegance. The approx. 40,350-GRT ship will be configured with one additional deck and new expanded public areas, and is expected to carry just 600 guests, based on double occupancy. In addition, every suite will feature a private veranda.

Norwegian Jewel Set to Call Australia Home in Fall 2017
Norwegian Cruise Line today announced several itineraries for the company’s Fall/Winter 2017/2018 deployment, featuring a wide array of itineraries from convenient U.S. ports of departure, as well as exciting new Australia & New Zealand itineraries from Sydney and Auckland, all offering Norwegian’s signature freedom and flexibility onboard. New for 2017/18, Norwegian Jewel will be based in the Asia Pacific region with departures to and from Australia beginning November 2017; San Juan, Puerto Rico returns as a seasonal homeport, with Norwegian Dawn sailing from the Caribbean port, as well as Tampa, Florida; along with a new 14-day Western Caribbean sailing from New York on Norwegian Breakaway.

“As the Norwegian Cruise Line brand continues to grow internationally, we are incredibly excited to offer new and more exotic itineraries for our guests, including a full season of cruises from Australia and New Zealand in Fall/Winter 2017/2018,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief operating officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “We also continue to offer a wide variety of engaging and interesting itineraries for our guests sailing from the U.S., including favorite destinations like the Caribbean and the Bahamas.”

Norwegian Jewel Set to Call Australia Home in Fall 2017Norwegian Jewel’s inaugural Australasian itineraries will bring guests to some of the region’s most incredible ports, beginning on October 3, 2017 with a variety of Hawaii, French Polynesia and South Pacific cruises, as the ship sails from Vancouver to Sydney. Highlights of Norwegian Jewel’s inaugural season in Australia include seven Sydney round-trip cruises featuring a five-day Sydney-Tasmania-Sydney cruise departing on November 12, 2017, as well as a nine-day voyage visiting many burgeoning regional destinations including Eden, Kangaroo Island and Tasmania’s Burnie, departing December 14, 2017.

Norwegian Jewel’s ten to 16-day Australia and New Zealand itineraries depart between November 2017 and February 2018, with highlights including cruising through New Zealand’s striking Milford Sound and the spectacular Bay of Islands. Norwegian Jewel will make her way from Sydney to Singapore on an 18-day adventure departing February 20, 2018 where guests can enjoy the best of Far North Queensland, Darwin, and enjoy a visit to the enchanting Komodo Island.

In a nod to Norwegian Jewel’s new homeport, guests will be treated to the finest local Australian cuisine including regional beef, lamb, seafood, fine wines and ales, along with award-winning entertainment featuring the epic home-grown ballroom spectacular Burn the Floor as part of Norwegian Jewel’s onboard entertainment while she’s in Australia.

Following her Australian season, Norwegian Jewel will undertake a range of exotic Asian itineraries visiting Vietnam, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Korea and more, offering travelers the opportunity to explore some of the best Asia has to offer.

Those guests sailing from Tampa and New Orleans in the southern U.S. will have a different ship in each market to choose from next fall.

Norwegian Dawn, currently undergoing a multi-million dollar refurbishment as a part of The Norwegian Edge investment program, will sail seasonally from Tampa and San Juan, and Norwegian Pearl from New Orleans.

Norwegian Dawn will move south next fall and homeport in San Juan, Puerto Rico from November 12, 2017 – January 7, 2018, sailing seven-, ten- and 11-day Southern Caribbean itineraries during the holiday season. Ports of call will include Bridgetown, Barbados; Fort-de-France, Martinique; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, with varying calls on longer itineraries.

From January 17- February 7, 2018, Norwegian Dawn will sail from Tampa for a series of two 11-day Eastern Caribbean and one ten-day Western Caribbean cruises, and then sail a series of seven-day Western Caribbean cruises departing on Sundays from Tampa, from February 18 – April 1, 2018 that will include a port of call at the Caribbean’s premier resort-style destination, Harvest Caye, Belize, being developed by Norwegian.

New for 2017/2018, Norwegian Pearl will sail seven-, eight- and nine-day Western Caribbean cruises from New Orleans, from October 22, 2017 to April 1, 2018. Her ports of call from the Crescent City will include Cozumel, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Costa Maya, Mexico, with varying ports for longer itineraries that can include George Town, Grand Cayman and Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala.

Guests who wish to cruise to the Caribbean from the Big Apple can set sail on board Norwegian Breakaway, the ship that brings the best of NYC to sea, to either the Bahamas and Florida or the Southern, Eastern and – new for 2018 – Western Caribbean in Fall and Winter 2017/2018.

Norwegian Breakaway will sail seven-day Bahamas & Florida cruises from New York from October 1, 2017 to April 29, 2018 with calls in Port Canaveral, Norwegian’s private Bahamian island destination Great Stirrup Cay that’s currently undergoing a multi-million dollar enhancement, and Nassau.

For those guests looking for a more relaxing, longer getaway from New York’s chilly winters, they can cruise to the Southern Caribbean on one of Norwegian Breakaway’s two 14-day Southern Caribbean itineraries on January 5 and February 2, 2018 that explore the heart of the Caribbean in the US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, Dominica and more, or sail away on a sun-drenched 12-day Eastern Caribbean cruise on December 3, 2017, with calls in St. Kitts, Antigua, Tortola and more.

New for 2018, is a 14-day Western Caribbean cruise from NYC, that will provide guests the opportunity to explore the wonders of the Caribbean’s deep blue waters, lush tropical mountains and spectacular beaches, featuring calls at two of Norwegian’s destination experiences – the company’s private island Great Stirrup Cay, and the Caribbean’s newest resort-style port of call, Harvest Caye, Belize, along with Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; Roatan, Honduras; and Cozumel, Mexico.

Celebrity Introduces Newly Enhanced Concierge Class Experience
With meticulous attention to detail and a passion for delivering modern luxury service from the moment guests check-in, Celebrity Cruises is now unveiling its newly enhanced Concierge Class Experience fleetwide. New services and exclusive events have been added to the onboard experience for guests booking these accommodations, who already enjoy a private, spacious veranda offering breathtaking views.

Richard Meadows, President of Seabourn, and Raffaele Davassi, Director of the Fincantieri Shipyard, Celebrate the Steel Cutting of Seabourn Ovation in Sestri PonenteIn an expanded role, the personal Concierge – the signature feature of Concierge Class – will not only work as a guest's personal planner, but also play culinary matchmaker, by arranging an exclusive, new Concierge Class Luncheon at the start of each sailing that gives guests the opportunity to savor dishes from the expertly-crafted menus by Celebrity's Michelin-starred chef. After their delicious lunch, guests can provide their personal dining preferences to the Maître d' who will assist with making priority dining reservations for main and specialty restaurants.

In addition to the personal and attentive service, Concierge Class guests receive priority check-in and debarkation; access to the exclusive pre-departure lounge; fresh fruit and sparkling wine upon arrival in their stateroom; complimentary Daily Delectable Delights delivered every afternoon; preferred pillows from Celebrity's extensive Pillow Menu; luxury amenities including plush cotton robes and towels and custom-blended bath products.

"Our newly reimagined Concierge Class experience is a personal retreat like no other," said Brian Abel, Vice President, Hotel Operations, Celebrity Cruises. "We know that guests are looking for a personalized vacation and for every detail to be taken care of, so our new enhanced experience is designed to deliver everything a discerning traveler desires in a vacation – from the moment they check-in to the journey home. All of the onboard team plus the dedicated concierge are available to assist guests in whatever they need."

With the comfort of all guests in mind, Celebrity offers a wide range of modern luxury accommodations to suit every need: the indulgent Suite Class with a dedicated butler, exclusive Luminae restaurant, private lounge, plus more; Aqua Class with spa inspired staterooms, unlimited access to the Persian Garden and a dedicated chic restaurant, Blu; Veranda staterooms for the perfect view or private meal, and thoughtfully designed Ocean view and inside staterooms.

Holland America Line Celebrates Grand Opening of Denali Square Complex
Guests on Holland America Line’s award-winning Alaska Land+Sea Journeys can now experience new dining, entertainment and amenities at the Denali Square complex located in the heart of the company’s McKinley Chalet Resort at the gates of Denali National Park. To celebrate today’s grand opening, Holland America Line presented the Denali Borough School District with a $20,000 check that will be spent on modernizing interactive classroom technology.

Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford welcomed attendees to Denali Square and unveiled the geomarker that was installed to commemorate the opening of the facility. Special guests included U.S. Senator for Alaska Lisa Murkowski; Superintendent of Denali National Park and Preserve Don Striker; Denali Borough School District Superintendent Dan Polta; and Ken Karstens, grandson of Harry Karstens, first superintendent of Denali National Park and namesake of the new Denali Square restaurant, Karstens Public House. Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald and Holland America Group Chief Executive Officer Stein Kruse also attended.

Holland America Line Celebrates Grand Opening of Denali Square Complex in Alaska with $20,000 Donation to Local School District“For nearly 70 years Holland America Line has been at the forefront of Alaska exploration, and the opening of Denali Square is another exciting moment in our company’s history because it elevates the way our guests will experience Denali and Alaska,” said Ashford. “A complex like Denali Square is unrivaled in our industry, and it brings more facets of the region to our guests by showcasing local cuisine, art, entertainment and so much more. Denali National Park has been and will continue to be the centerpiece of our incredible Land+Sea Journeys.”

A highlight of the ceremony was a performance by the local Tri-Valley High School choir from Healy, Alaska. Husky dogs from the National Parks Service at Denali National Park were also at the event with handlers for guests to learn more about and enjoy.

Over the past three years Holland America Line has been refining the guest experience at the 60-acre McKinley Chalet Resort, and last year an enhanced property layout and freshly remodeled guest rooms were unveiled. Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys feature up to three nights at Denali, with an included Tundra Wilderness Tour deep into the Park for all multiple night guests.

Alaska-based companies heading up the McKinley Chalet Resort’s enhancement project include general contractor Dawson Construction and Stantec, which is providing engineering services. Additional firms involved are lead and landscape architect The Portico Group, restaurant architect Heliotrope Architects, structural engineering company Michael Leonard Associates and project manager Costigan Integrated, all of Seattle, Wash.

Denali Square is at the heart of the 60-acre McKinley Chalet Resort, which provides accommodations for guests on Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys, which combine an Alaska cruise with an overland tour to Denali National Park and beyond. Denali Square is centrally located between the main part of the property, containing the reception hall, dining facilities and guest rooms, and the riverfront guest rooms that provide stunning views of the Nenana River.

Denali Square serves as a new gathering area to relax, shop, dine and enjoy music and entertainment. The largest building in the complex is Karstens, the grand 7,000-square-foot two-story restaurant showcasing views of the neighboring mountains for dining guests. An inviting deck with fire pits and outdoor seating also allow guests to immerse themselves in this special venue as they drink and dine. Denali Square is best described as both a hub and a retreat for Holland America Line guests at the doorstep of Denali National Park.

At the center of Denali Square is an amphitheater with a covered performance stage and bench seating for guests to enjoy a variety of local shows, ranger talks and demonstrations. Those wanting to quench their thirst or listen to live music can visit Gold Nugget Saloon, home to the Music of Denali Dinner Theater.

Denali Square also features cozy fire pits to gather around on cool Alaska evenings and make s’mores; outdoor seating for guests who wish to enjoy the scenery; retail shops offering local goods; and an artist-in-residence cabin where Alaska native and local artists display and discuss their works. Walking paths in and around Denali Square show off the property’s mountainous landscapes and beautiful setting nestled just across the Nenana River from Denali National Park.

Disney Cruise Line Brings New Experiences and Enhancements to the Disney Wonder This Fall
Exciting new entertainment and experiences are in store for Disney Wonder guests after the Disney Cruise Line vessel is transformed this fall. Headlining the enhancements are imaginative spaces for children, a jazzy restaurant and an English pub.

Following are highlights of the fun for guests of all ages, debuting on the Disney Wonder this fall.

The Marvel universe comes to life in Marvel Super Hero Academy. Here, young guests can train to develop the brave and adventurous heroes inside themselves. It's an exciting addition to Disney's Oceaneer Club, the engaging and interactive space just for children.

The adult district includes a brand-new pub that invites guests to take a jaunt to an authentic English tavernExclusively on the Disney Wonder, Marvel Super Hero Academy will offer extraordinary adventures in which each young guest plays an integral role. With the mentorship of some of Marvel's greatest Super Heroes, young trainees will learn the value of teamwork, bravery and problem solving through hands-on play and programs.

In one mission, Spider-Man will appear in person to help children hone their spider senses by perfecting their skills of reflex, speed and sharp minds. Children will work on their web-slinging and then get to see themselves in the headlines of the Daily Bugle.

The high-tech command post is also where other Marvel Super Heroes will interact with children via a large digital display, helping them unleash their inner heroes. In one program, kids can control the movement of a character on screen to practice super skills like repulsor blasting.

Throughout the academy, displays will feature equipment that helps make Marvel Super Heroes the mightiest in the universe. Captain America's World War II shield, Iron Man's helmet, Spider-Man's web shooters and Black Widow's gauntlets will inspire young Super Hero recruits.

Elsewhere in Disney's Oceaneer Club, open to children ages three to 12 years old, kid-sized fun continues with new play spaces and more character interactions than ever before.

Frozen Adventures is where fun takes the form of imaginative play and hands-on activities. On the digital screen, Olaf leads summery games with a wintery twist and a sing-a-long of "In Summer." In another festive activity, young guests prepare for a coronation and receive a truly royal and in-person visit by Anna and Elsa. Club Disney Junior features favorite Disney Junior characters, storytelling and games. During one activity, Doc McStuffins pays a visit to the club to help children diagnose and treat the stuffed animals.

Andy's Room is where kids feel toy-sized in the multi-level play space themed to the Disney-Pixar "Toy Story" trilogy. As a special treat, Woody appears in person to join youngsters in a hoedown and Jesse stops by to join in a scavenger hunt.

These and other spaces provide the perfect settings for children to meet their favorite characters, dance, play and just have fun with them.

A new It's a Small World Nursery will delight the youngest cruisers with a whimsical world inspired by the style of the legendary theme park attraction.

Exclusive to the Disney Wonder, Tiana's Place restaurant will transport guests to an era of southern charm, spirited jazz and street party celebrations. With a menu influenced by southern-style cuisine, Tiana's Place will provide food for the body and soul, showing that dreams and dishes come true.

Guests of Tiana's Place, the restaurant inspired by Princess Tiana in the Disney animated feature, "The Princess and the Frog," will be treated to a celebration of New Orleans dining and entertainment. Live music will be performed on the main stage, with rhythmic, toe-tapping notes of jazz, swing and blues setting the tone for the French Quarter supper club atmosphere.

Chefs will cook up Tiana's recipes, drawing inspiration from the flavors and ingredients of the Louisiana bayou. Tiana's personal touch will be evident in the menu, the entertainment and throughout every detail in the restaurant. From Tiana's family photos to water lily-shaped candleholders to her framed culinary awards – all will help tell the timeless tale of Tiana's journey from waitress to frog to princess to proud restaurant owner.

The adult district includes a brand-new pub that invites guests to take a jaunt to an authentic English tavern. Dark woods, plush leather furniture and brass accents are reminiscent of a friendly neighborhood pub. Of course, a selection of British and specialty beers create the perfect pub atmosphere, where adult guests can sip a pint or cocktail, or sample a brew made especially for the pub.

Observant guests may discover this is no ordinary pub. Subtle nods to classic Disney films set in London can be found in artwork, props and other bits 'n bobs throughout the space. Brilliant stories of all sorts will be celebrated at the pub, whether those tales be true, tall or flat-out mad.

Throughout the Disney Wonder, other new and enhanced areas include:

• After Hours – a new adult district featuring an English pub, an all-new night club and a shiny new model of the popular Cadillac Lounge
• A reimagined and relaxing Senses Spa & Salon and a new Chill Teen Spa
• Animator's Palate main dining restaurant updated to introduce the popular "Drawn to Magic" and "Animation Magic" dinner shows
• D Lounge for family games and entertainment
• Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique providing magical makeovers for children
• Edge club for tweens
• Cabanas casual dining location
• Palo specialty restaurant makeover with Venetian-inspired décor

The ship's upper decks also will be redesigned for waterful enjoyment:

• Twist 'n' Spout water slide provides splashtacular fun
• Dory's Reef is a splash zone that offers fanciful water play for toddlers
• AquaLab is a pool and interactive water play area for kids and families

After the Disney Wonder undergoes dry dock Sept. 9 to Oct. 23, 2016, in Cadiz, Spain, the wave of new enhancements debut on sailings starting Nov. 10, from Galveston, Texas.

The Disney Wonder will continue to sail from Galveston to the Bahamas and Caribbean, until the ship sails to San Juan, Puerto Rico on Jan. 20, 2017. On Jan. 26, 2017, a three-night cruise aboard the Disney Wonder takes guests from San Juan to Port Canaveral, Fla., where the ship will homeport for the spring.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 47.07 - 3.15%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 76.19/FONT> - 2.03%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.49 - 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 45.40 - 3.59%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
When is a Sapphire Princess not a Sapphire Princess? The current Sapphire Princess sailing for Princess Cruises had a different name when construction started. What was her original name and why did it have to be changed.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the inspiration for the distinctive funnel paint job on the ships of Carnival Cruise Line?

Answer - It was originally set as a corporate logo for CP Sea (Canadian Pacific) which was green. All divisions had their primary color. Then adapted into red white and blue for Carnival.
courtesy of G. Kennan

Cruise News - May 30, 2016

Old Sailor Superstitions Still Bring Good Luck to Today's Cruise Ships
Mariners tend to be superstitious. They don't like to rock the boat, so to speak.

So even in the 21st century, with modern cruise ships sailing guests around the world in extraordinary comfort and guided with the latest in navigational equipment, some traditions linger, dating back to rugged early seafarer days.

Dutch Captain Emiel de Vries, of Holland America Line's sparkling new 2,650-passenger Koningsdam, said one of the first things he looks for on a ship is a certain bottle of water.

Antonio Quintano, shipyard director for Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri (left), presents Captain Emiel de Vries of Holland America Line's Koningsdam, with the bottle containing the first water touched by the new ship, which made its debut in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in May 2016. The bottle is kept on the ship as a sign of good luck."When a ship starts to float, the water that first touches the ship is caught in a bottle and it's sealed. Later it is typically displayed in the captain's office near the bridge. You walk in and think, 'Ah, there's the bottle. Everything is good,'" Captain de Vries explained. "If I would walk on a ship and it's not there, I would find that odd."

Captain de Vries was presented with the Koningsdam's bottle by shipbuilder Fincantieri in April – during a traditional handover ceremony attended by dignitaries including Carnival Corporation executives.

Other construction milestones are also celebrated with pomp and circumstance based on time-honored maritime tradition.

A steel-cutting ceremony signals the start of a cruise ship's production. A keel-laying ceremony marks the first completed section being lowered by giant cranes onto the building dock. The float-out ceremony takes place when a ship first touches water.

Good luck coins are often involved. For instance, two commemorative gold coins were welded in place in February at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, to mark the float-out soon afterward of ultra-luxury brand Seabourn's 600-passenger Seabourn Encore, set to debut in December 2016.

The coin tradition dates back to Roman times when coins were attached to a ship to provide "divine protection." On modern ships they are typically on display on the radar mast. Next time you are aboard a ship, head up to the top deck to try and spot the coin or coins.

The most popular present day maritime ritual, developed in the 20th century, is having a notable godmother say a blessing and oversee the smashing of a bottle of champagne across a new ship's hull. The tradition dates to ancient times when wine was used and men did the duties and perhaps, it is said, spilled the wine on purpose to check for cracks in the hull.

When the Koningsdam was christened in Rotterdam on May 20, a Holland America Line tradition was upheld – the Pinnacle-class ship was the 12th in the 143-year-old line's history to be launched with the participation of Dutch royalty. Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands did the honors.

Specific ships have their own traditions. For instance, there may be a bridge mascot.

Always positioned on the starboard side of the bridge on Holland America Line's 1,432-passenger Volendam is Flat Eric, the yellow puppet who starred in Levi's jeans commercials (directed by French musician Mr. Oizo) in 1999, the year the ship debuted. Officers presented the puppet, which they call "Oizo," with a 15-year service award in 2014.

A tradition unique to Cunard's Queen Mary 2 oceanliner is for officers to "mark" the distance of a transatlantic crossing between Southampton, England, and New York with a toy ship that sits on top of a monitor on the bridge. Each day, it is moved a bit further to symbolically coincide with how much distance has been sailed.

Based on longstanding tradition, the crew bar on Cunard ships is always called "The Pig and Whistle," named after the nearest pub to where Cunard ships historically docked in Liverpool.

Other traditions on ships of the venerable Cunard Line include calling the back-of-the-house crew thoroughfare the "Burma Road." On Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line ships, the long crew passageway is known as "I-95," in tribute to the highway that passes through Carnival Corporation's home base of Miami.

Carnival Cruise Line, which this month debuted the 133,500-ton, Italian-built Carnival Vista, the line's largest and most innovative ship, also has its own traditions.

Italian captains on Carnival Cruise Line ships never toast with water, because doing so may bring bad luck. And they dislike umbrellas on the ship and new shoes on the bridge, according to John Heald, Carnival Cruise Line's long-time senior cruise director.

Other nautical superstitions are more universally embraced. Here are a few examples:

It's considered bad luck to step onboard a ship with your left foot first.

If dolphins follow your ship, it's a sign of good luck.

There's no whistling in the wheelhouse (today's bridge), because you might whistle up a storm.

Toasting with champagne will assure a Bon Voyage.

On world cruises, trans-Pacific voyages and South America sailings, such as those of Princess Cruises, a favorite maritime tradition is a ceremony for guests as the ship crosses the equator. Originally a hazing ritual for sailors, Pollywogs (newbies) are summoned by King Neptune and his court and ordered to do things such as crawl, kiss a fish or jump into the pool before being able to claim status as experienced Shellbacks.

Never worry if you spill wine overboard at your ship's Sail Away party as it brings good luck – considered an offering to the gods. According to tradition, Neptune also doesn't mind an occasional shot of rum.

Royal Caribbean Signs Deal for Fifth Oasis-class and Two Edge-class ships
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with French Shipbuilder STX France to build a fifth Oasis-class ship for delivery in the Spring of 2021 and two additional Edge-class ships scheduled for delivery in the Fall of each of 2021 and 2022.

Royal Caribbean Signs Deal for Fifth Oasis-class and Two  Edge-class ships“The response to the arrival of Harmony of the Seas is staggering, eliciting excitement from eager cruisers from markets on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “And Edge-class is one of the most highly anticipated new projects, following the high bar of Modern Luxury design set by its predecessor, the Solstice Class.”

“The Oasis-class ships have delivered beyond expectations each time,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Harmony of the Seas’ warm reception is evidence that growing this class of ship will continue to drive exceptional performance for the brand.”

“Although our first Edge-class vessel is still over two years away from delivery, there has been a tremendous amount of interest around the new standard of style Edge-class will introduce,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Solstice-class ushered in a new era of design for modern cruise ships, and Edge-class will not disappoint as the new generation of high style and design.”

“We are extremely pleased with the recent success of Harmony of the Seas and take great pride in our partnership with Royal Caribbean,” said Laurent Castaing, Managing Director of STX France. “It is especially exciting to collaborate on such diverse projects from Oasis to Edge, both marvels in their own space.”

This order is contingent upon the completion of customary conditions, including documentation and financing. Final contracts, which include the definitive payment schedules, are expected to be completed within the quarter. Capacity increases for 2016 through 2020 remain unchanged.

MSC Cruises Launches Sir Bani Yas Island 'Beach Oasis' Destination
MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world's largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa, has announced the first details of yet another exclusive island destination, the Sir Bani Yas Island beach oasis, which will further enrich the cruise line's winter 2016/2017 cruise itineraries in the Emirates.

Rendering of the beachside bar and shaded eating area on Sir Bani Yas Island Beach Oasis in Abu Dhabiexclusively for MSC Cruises guests. Activities on the island will mirror the world of choices unique to an MSC Cruises' experience. Starting in December 2016, MSC Fantasia will add this exclusive, brand new destination to its already rich winter cruise itineraries in the Dubai and Abu Dhabi region – allowing guests to spend a full day on this stunning tropical island paradise.

"Last year we announced the new Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas, said Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises CEO. "Today's announcement is further proof of our commitment to enriching our itineraries and to making available to our guests unique experiences that enable them to discover new cultures and beauties. Additionally, this new, exclusive beach oasis experience stays true to our core values to provide our guests excellence in service, the best in entertainment as well as food options that are of the highest quality and always fresh."

MSC Cruises has been working on perfecting this destination together with the Abu Dhabi Ports Authority for more than two years. The tropical beach oasis is on a smaller island connected to the main island by an attractive wooden boardwalk that allows MSC Cruises' guests exclusive access to an authentic beach vacation experience – with hundreds of palm trees, shaded cabanas and more than 2,000 sunbeds across 387,500 sq.ft. of fine golden beaches. Other key facilities include, amongst others:

An exclusive, private space for MSC Yacht Club guests with an area serving elegant finger food and refreshments; • Sports facilities, including beach volleyball and tennis;
• A family and kids-dedicated area, with a parents' pergola;
• A Bedouin tent offering arts and crafts created by local communities; and
• A lounge space with a bar and live music, for relaxing.

In true MSC Cruises style, on the island guests will be able to enjoy a selection of fresh and authentic food options, with a range of cooking stations serving small delights from the region as well as international favorites. Guests can also expect to see beachside charcoal BBQs serving light dishes and snacks, and exotic cocktails served from one of six beach bars. Ship food and drink services, such as drink packages, extend onto the island to ensure that the guest experience between the ship and the island is completely seamless.

The Sir Bani Yas Island MSC Cruises beach oasis offers something for everyone – from relaxation to action, to nature appreciation and culture. For those wishing to relax and unwind, the beautiful beach has a number of natural sunbathing spots and sun-drenched walking trails, which are open all day long. In addition, the MSC Aurea Spa will make available relaxing massages with stunning sea views.

For guests looking for something a little more action-oriented, a 4x4 expedition experience or a high-octane mountain biking session over naturally-created tracks can be booked to enjoy on the main island. There will also be a variety of sporting activities on offer exclusively for MSC Cruises guests, including beach volleyball, football, or water sports such as snorkelling, paddle boarding, sea kayaking and more.

The island is one of region's largest wildlife reserves thanks to decades of intensive conservation work and ecological investment to restore and maintain its biodiversity. The Arabian Wildlife Park on the main island of Sir Bani Yas is today, as a result of this work, home to more than 13,000 indigenous and endangered animals, as well as millions of trees and plants. MSC Cruises has been working closely with the Abu Dhabi Port Authorities and ecologists to develop the island beach oasis for its guests fully in line with the broader Sir Bani Yas island project and to support the ongoing preservation work.

The MSC Cruises beach oasis will also offer direct access to the natural reserve, with a range of specially designed excursions that will allow guests to experience the unique beauty of the natural surroundings. These include a horse riding tour, a safari-style nature drive through the reserve as well as a Dhow tour around the island in a traditional powered boat – giving guests the opportunity to see giraffes, hyenas and cheetahs in their natural habitat.

Finally, there are ongoing archaeological excavations taking place on Sir Bani Yas island. So for guests who want to discover more about the history and the culture of the island, a dedicated tour to the ruins of an early Christian monastery site from 6th century AD is available for them.

MSC Fantasia, one of the company's largest and newest cruise ships, will visit Sir Bani Yas island starting in December 2016. The ship was constructed in 2008 and is currently the youngest and largest cruise ship in the region offering 1,250 staterooms and some of the most modern facilities available to guests. These including outstanding entertainment, five restaurants serving refined international cuisine and an authentic Balinese spa. 75 percent of staterooms have balconies offering panoramic sea views. For those looking for a touch of luxury, MSC Fantasia offers the award-winning MSC Yacht Club experience – a ship within a ship concept offering 71 butler-serviced suites with a focus on privacy and exclusivity, the only such service available on a cruise ship in the region.

MSC Cruises offers an exciting range of itineraries to discover and enjoy the Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas region, with cruises from 7 to 14 nights. Guests can embark from Abu Dhabi or Dubai, with itineraries calling at Sir Bani Yas Island, Bahrain, Doha, Khasab, Khor Fakkan and Muscat.

Carnival Vista's Two-Deck Cloud 9 Spa: A Seagoing Oasis Of Tranquility And Relaxation
For those looking to unwind and relax, the new Carnival Vista has a lot to ahhh about. The luxurious two-level Cloud 9 Spa features an array of chill-worthy amenities, including Carnival's first infrared sauna and Hammam Chamber, as well as special "experience showers" that provide a soothing fragrance element, a large heated whirlpool, four steam chambers and a high-tech indoor cycling studio.

Carnival Vista – the line's newest, largest and most innovative ship – debuted earlier this month in Europe.

Carnival Vista's Two-Deck Cloud 9 Spa: A Seagoing Oasis Of Tranquility And RelaxationExclusive to Carnival Vista is the Infrared Heat Chamber. The chamber's heating system is built into the walls with 80 percent of the heat gently warming the body and the remaining 20 percent of infrared heat released into the air, providing cooler, more consistent temperatures than traditional saunas.

The beneficial effects of a sauna remain the same: body detoxification to increase energy, burn calories, decrease inflammation, relieve pain and improve blood circulation in the skin to enhance delivery of oxygen and nutrients.

Another Carnival Vista exclusive is the Hammam Chamber, developed during the Ottoman Empire as a place of regeneration, contemplation and inner peace. The aim is both physical and spiritual cleansing, along with loosening of joints and muscles by ladling warm water over the body to slowly increase temperature to approximately 113 degrees F.

Carnival Vista's Cloud 9 Spa also features an elaborate Thermal Suite, which offers intensive relaxation and a new sensory experience provided through individually designed heat therapy rooms that cleanse, tone and purify the body using alternating dry and wet heat chambers. The thermal suite is an exclusive facility within the spa offering different areas for specific therapeutic needs.

The Steam Chamber with Aroma Steam and Aromatic Grotto is a small, intimate chamber where high humidity and radiant heat create a moist, warm climate that gently but thoroughly cleanses the skin and respiratory tract with herbal steam featuring sweet aromas such as cinnamon, orange or apple.

The Dry Heat Chamber, or Laconium, is a large dry heat bath/sauna-like chamber where circulation is stimulated, accelerating and mobilizing the body's own defenses, while reducing stress.

Carnival Vista's Cloud 9 Spa also has a fitness center with the latest cardio and weight-training equipment catering to all conditioning levels. The fitness center serves as the location for a wide range of instructor-led exercise classes, including a new indoor cycling studio.

Powered by Myzone, RYDE is a 45-minute indoor cycling class that takes riders through a series of climbs and sprints to target all energy systems, while integrating technology to track riders' intensity and enhance their future workout results. The combination of modern and old school music fuels the atmosphere for an upbeat high energy work out that leaves riders with a feeling of achievement.

Additional Cloud 9 Spa amenities include treatment rooms for European-style massages and facials, two saunas (men/women), two locker rooms (men/women), a post-treatment relaxation room where guests can lounge, enjoy herbal tea and relish the sensation of pure relaxation and a VIP treatment room with whirlpool.

As part of the Cloud 9 Spa located forward on decks 12 and 14, Carnival Vista features 98 spa staterooms and six suites. Guests in these accommodations have convenient access to the spa and are eligible for exclusive spa packages, discounts and priority spa appointments. These staterooms and suites have additional in-room, spa-related amenities and décor different than other accommodations, in harmony with the soothing and relaxing theme of the Cloud 9 Spa.

A salon with full hair and nail services, men's barber/grooming area and special stations for manicures and pedicures round out Carnival Vista's Cloud 9 Spa services and facilities.

Carnival Vista debuted May 1 and will operate a summer schedule of Mediterranean cruises through October. The ship will then reposition to New York for a pair of 11-day voyages in November 2016 before launching year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Miami later that month.

Princess Cruises Announces 2017-2018 Americas Itineraries
Princess Cruises has announced its 2017-2018 Americas cruise itineraries from Fall 2017 to Spring 2018 including sailings to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexico, Hawaii, and the California Coast. The array of cruise vacations range from three to 28 days and went on sale May 19.

In total, 11 ships with 230 departures on more than 30 unique itineraries visiting 70 destinations will sail between September 2017 and April 2018. Cruises will offer guests a variety of choices ranging from a short-cruise getaway to week-long vacations, as well as voyages of 10 days and longer.

Princess Cruises Announces 2017-2018 Americas ItinerariesHighlights include the maiden season of Caribbean Princess on 10-day cruises sailing through the new Panama Canal locks. Roundtrip California Coast voyages from Los Angeles will now include the port of Monterey. A Princess first, Emerald Princess offers a 12-day roundtrip Alaska voyage from Los Angeles in Spring 2018. Princess guests can choose from more short-cruise getaways on both coasts with Crown Princess introducing new five-day departures to the Eastern and Western Caribbean from Ft. Lauderdale while Ruby Princess and Emerald Princess sail four- or five-day options from Los Angeles – with overnight stay in Cabo San Lucas on our five-day!

"Our 2017-2018 Americas season offers exciting itineraries for our guests to choose the perfect cruise vacation from homeports in the United States and Canada," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "Recognized for our award-winning itineraries, we're always evolving our cruise options so our guests can immerse themselves in the local cultures and enjoy new experiences while in port."

Full details of Princess Cruises' 2017-2018 Americas cruise season include:

Caribbean - Offering the youngest fleet in the region, taking guests to some of the Caribbean's top-rated beaches and most romantic ports, five Princess Cruises ships will sail 5-day Getaways, 7- and 8-day vacations and voyages from 10-to 21-days long in 2017 and 2018.

Caribbean Princess debuts a new 14-day Circle Caribbean itinerary, sailing roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, including visits to Martinique, Barbados, Trinidad, Aruba, Curacao, Antigua, St. Maarten, St. Kitts and a stop at the line's private beach resort, Princess Cays. The ship offers a special holiday sailing including both Christmas and New Year's Day.

The line's popular 7-day Caribbean cruises return in 2017 and 2018 with visits to the Eastern and Western Caribbean regions on Regal Princess, while Crown Princess alternates 8-day Eastern and Southern Caribbean and 5-day Getaways to the Eastern and Western Caribbean throughout the season.

Pacific Princess sails a holiday 14-day Caribbean Connoisseur voyage, visiting islands not typically included on other Caribbean itineraries for an off-the-beaten path exploration, including St. Croix, Nevis, Guadeloupe, Tobago and Virgin Gorda.

Royal Princess returns to the Caribbean including 10-day Southern Medley and 10-day Eastern Voyager itineraries which can be combined for a 20-day vacation. These sailings offer the best of the Caribbean including St. Kitts, Barbados and St. Lucia as well as ports that are off-the-beaten path such as Dominica, Grenada and Bonaire.

Panama Canal - Princess Cruises is the #1 cruise line sailing the Panama Canal, taking more guests through the Panama Canal than any other cruise line, while providing the most itinerary options and sailing dates from fall through spring on four ships.

2017-2018 will be the maiden season for transiting the new Panama Canal locks, with Caribbean Princess offering partial transits on 10-day voyages roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale.

Coral Princess, Island Princess and Pacific Princess all sail ocean to ocean with full transit offerings through all three sets of traditional Canal locks – Gatun, Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks, with Coral Princess offering an extra day in Fuerte Amador for guests to fully experience historic Panama City.

Guests may take advantage of the line's Connoisseur voyages on board Pacific Princess, sailing a 17-day voyage with a call to the unique port of Santa Marta, Colombia.

Finally, Island Princess sails a convenient roundtrip Los Angeles departure for transits through the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks, offering guests a nostalgic cruise experience to the Panama Canal.

Hawaii, Mexico, California Coast and Alaska - On the West Coast, five ships will be deployed from three homeports – Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver – to the tropical waters of Hawaii and Mexico, as well as the beautiful California Coast, and a Princess-first voyage to Alaska roundtrip from Los Angeles. Voyages range from four to 28 days.

Star Princess homeports in Los Angeles sailing 10 voyages to the Hawaiian Islands with port calls in Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. Grand Princess homeports in San Francisco sailing seven voyages visiting the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island.

Roundtrip departures from Vancouver, British Columbia to the Hawaiian Islands are also available on Star Princess in the fall and spring. Emerald Princess also features two 28-day cruises to Hawaii, Tahiti and Samoa in the fall and spring.

The line's popular Mexico cruises are available as 7-day voyages from Los Angeles, visiting Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, or as 10-day cruises from San Francisco with the added port of Manzanillo. In addition, 10-day Baja Peninsula & Sea of Cortez voyages return, sailing from Los Angeles to the ports of San Diego, Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Loreto, Puerto Vallarta and the California Coast.

Offering the ultimate California food and wine experience, the line's 7-day sailings from Los Angeles and 10-day cruises from Vancouver include the new port of Monterey on the California coast, offering opportunities to visit the world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Course, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the breathtaking coastal views of the region's iconic 17-Mile-Drive. Ruby Princess and Emerald Princess also sail on select 4-day West Coast Getaway voyages from Los Angeles including Santa Barbara or Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico, while 5-day Cabo San Lucas Getaways include an overnight in the popular destination.

A Princess first, Emerald Princess departs on a 12-day roundtrip voyage from Los Angeles with port calls in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Vancouver, featuring scenic cruising of Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

More Ashore - Offering guests more time to explore local cultures and culinary offerings, select itineraries in the Caribbean, California and Hawaii offer extended stays in Aruba, Curacao, St. Thomas, Cozumel, San Francisco, San Diego, Long Beach and Honolulu, as well an overnight stay in Cabo San Lucas on the line's five-day voyages from Los Angeles.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 48.60 - 2.62%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 77.77 - 0.63%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.49 - 0.40%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 47.09 + 0.75%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the inspiration for the distinctive funnel paint job on the ships of Carnival Cruise Line?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What year was the last four stacker liner removed from service and what was the name of the ship?

Answer - The last 4 stacker in service with 4 stacks was Cunard's Aquitania which was removed from service in 1950.

However, the Union Castle liner Arundel Castle which was originally built with 4 stacks remained in service until the end of 1958. She and her 4-stack sister, Windsor Castle, had undergone major refits in 1937 which saw both ships lengthened and converted to 2 stackers. Windsor Castle was sunk in WW II. I was given a tour of Arundel Castle in Port Elizabeth in September 1955.
courtesy of Brian O'Leary, Pointe-Claire QC Canada

Cruise News - May 23, 2016

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands Names HAL's New ms Koningsdam at a Ceremony in Rotterdam
In a festive event rich with Dutch heritage, Holland America Line held a Dedication Ceremony for ms Koningsdam Friday, May 20, 2016, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands officially blessed the bell and named Koningsdam on board ship in front of invited dignitaries, cruise guests, travel partners and media.

Queen Máxima performs the ceremonial honors of blessing the ship’s bell in the Lido pool area by pouring a glass of champagne over the bell"The celebration began with Her Majesty Queen Máxima performing the ceremonial honors of blessing the ship’s bell in the Lido pool area by pouring a glass of champagne over the bell. The blessing of the ship’s bell is a hallowed Holland America Line tradition when welcoming a new ship to the fleet. Her Majesty also was the first to sign Koningsdam’s commemorative wall that will become a permanent installation on the ship.

Next, the ship was officially christened during a ceremony in the World Stage theater when Her Majesty Queen Máxima pulled a rope to trigger the traditional champagne bottle break on Koningsdam’s hull.

“It’s an honor to have Her Majesty Queen Máxima as the godmother to Koningsdam, and May 20 was a truly special day with Her Majesty delivering the ceremonial traditions of welcoming our newest ship to the fleet,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “As our company was founded in Rotterdam more than 143 years ago, it was fitting to return to our roots for Koningsdam’s royal dedication.”

Also a traditional part of dedicating a new ship for the line is the appointment of Mariner Ambassadors to represent the important role of loyal repeat guests in the company’s ongoing success. Serving as Koningsdam’s Mariner Ambassadors were Enrique “Rick” Encarnacion and Ernest Schenk. Both dedicated Mariners, the pair have sailed more than 1,650 days each on Holland America Line cruises. Schenk first sailed with the line on a trans-Atlantic cruise aboard ss Ryndam. Encarnacion first sailed with Holland America Line in 1997 aboard an ms Statendam Panama Canal cruise.

Following the ceremony, a gala luncheon was held onboard in addition to shipwide celebrations throughout the day. In the evening the ship will set sail for Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to overnight on May 21, and fireworks lit up the sky as Koningsdam passed Hoek van Holland. Thousands of Dutch residents came out throughout the day to join in Holland America Line’s special events.

During its inaugural season in Europe, Koningsdam sails in the Mediterranean and then repositions from Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) to its summer homeport of Amsterdam. The ship will go on to sail roundtrip Amsterdam itineraries to Norway, the Baltic and Iceland.

Following its Europe season, Koningsdam will homeport at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The ship will sail one cruise to the Bahamas and then a series of Caribbean voyages from November 2016 through March 2017.

Norwegian Joy To Feature First Ever Race Kart Track at Sea
Cruise ship passengers can look forward to an outstanding attraction onboard Norwegian Cruise Line's next vessel Norwegian Joy, which will feature a fully equipped premium Go-Kart track built by RiMO Supply, a company of the RiMO Germany Group and a world leader for rental karts and tracks.

Norwegian Joy To Feature First Ever Race Kart Track at SeaNorwegian Joy is currently under construction at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany and will be designed for 3,900 guests. The ship's racetrack will be located on the ship's upper decks, 18 and 19, and will be equipped with 20 karts, a viewing platform, covered pit lane, workshop, storage room, timing system, floodlights and a track that reaches 230 meters in length. This prestigious project represents a further milestone in the successful company history. With steel construction company B. Levermann GmbH, located in Neuenrade, a competent partner out of the region is also involved.

RiMO Supply's electrically powered race karts utilize the latest generation of technology to ensure optimal usage under the unique conditions of intensified UV and saltwater exposure that exist onboard a cruise ship. All karts are being constructed according to the highest international standards and the track's functionality is equal to any high class land-based karting facility - with the addition of an incredible view at 60m height.

The growing popularity and importance of electronic technology can be noticed in the karting sector as more and more companies opt to use this environmentally friendly and low-maintenance technology. RiMO experts are convinced that electric powered vehicles are the future in kart sports.

"We are proud to contribute our years of experience to such an outstanding project," said Peter Bertram, owner and CEO of RiMO Germany Group.

"The electronically controlled engine sound as well as the non-existent exhausts are sure to meet cruise passengers' expectations of a relaxed but varied and unique ride. Cruise ship passengers of nearly every age should be excited to have the opportunity to enjoy this one-of-a-kind amusement ride found only on Norwegian Joy."

Home porting in Shanghai & Tianjin (Beijing), Norwegian Joy was designed by the team at Norwegian Cruise Line to provide First Class at Sea experiences specifically for the Chinese traveler, with onboard amenities that cater to the unique vacation desires of Chinese guests.

The Tallest Slide at Sea on Harmony of the Seas Delivers Top Thrill Factor
Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, claims another record as home to the tallest slide and most exhilarating adventure at sea: Ultimate Abyss. The hair-raising, 10-story slide is “possibly the most thrilling manmade adventure at sea,” according to thrill engineer Professor Brendan Walker, Thrill Laboratory, U.K., director. Enlisted to identify the level of “thrill,” a sudden feeling of excitement and pleasure, triggered by the Ultimate Abyss, Walker measured physical reactions of testers brave enough to accept the challenge. Walker also compared the latest innovation by the global cruise line known for many firsts-at-sea to other Royal Caribbean signatures, the FlowRider surf simulator and RockWall, to compare the varying levels of thrill available onboard Harmony of the Seas. Ultimate Abyss scored a Walker Thrill Factor of 45.35 percent as compared to the FlowRider (36.15 percent) and RockWall (34.59 percent). Considering it is highly unlikely that a single experience could be designed to score a Walker Thrill Factor of 100 percent, these scores are understood to be at the highend of thrill attractions; therefore, making Harmony the ultimate cruise ship for adrenaline junkies.

The Tallest Slide at Sea on Harmony of the Seas Delivers Top Thrill Factor“Royal Caribbean's legacy of imagination and innovation is reflected in all of the ships we build and Harmony of the Seas is no exception. It's not about building the largest cruise ships in the world, it's about creating the most amazing collection of unexpected experiences and activities at sea," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Having experienced it myself, I have no doubt that the Ultimate Abyss will be absoluately thrilling for our guests but it is really gratifying to get confirmation from such a thrill expert as Professor Brendan Walker. The exciting multisensory experience that this tallest slide at sea offers, combined with other Royal Caribbean firsts such as the Flowrider and the RockWall, confirms that Harmony isn't just the largest cruise ship in the world but also the ultimate adventure at sea."

The two-day test conducted during the final days of construction at the shipyard observed 10 individuals who had never experienced Ultimate Abyss and only limited exposure to the two other activities. Demonstrating the effect that Ultimate Abyss has on the body, Walker’s data revealed that the slide experience caused heartbeats to increase by an average of 44 beats per minute compared to the resting rate for a 30-year-old adult of average fitness. Overall, Ultimate Abyss caused facial expressions of extreme pleasure to be activated more than 40 percent of the time, with the sympathetic nervous system – the body’s primary process in stimulating the fight-or-flight response – becoming 15.74 percent more active than when at rest. Riders on the Ultimate Abyss experienced a complex and unique set of sensations at each of the five stages of thrill, all culminating in a euphoric crescendo to guarantee the ultimate rider satisfaction.

Having tested the riders’ capabilities on the gutsiest of rides, Walker offered his stamp of approval that Ultimate Abyss not only unleashed the five stages of thrill but was also determined to be the most thrilling attraction onboard Harmony of the Seas. Walker believes that even though not all rides are the same, they need to deliver thrill across the following five separate stages in order to be classified as thrilling:

• Imagining: When the rider consciously entertains the idea of riding. The stronger the rider can imagine riding the ride, the stronger the moments of thrill
• Approaching: As the thought of riding becomes a reality, the moments of thrill created through imagination become intensified in a "countdown to thrill"
• Committing: The rider passes through a stage of no return such as being strapped into a ride or being urged on by friends. At this stage, the only way to proceed is forward
• Doing: The ride begins. If it’s thrilling, the ride will provide intense novel sensations that will immerse the rider and transport them into a state of flow
• Celebrating: The ride ends. The rider experiences an afterglow as adrenaline and dopamine - the results of arousal and pleasure – continue to course through their brains

Walker commented: “Across the three rides we tested, the combination of thrill levels achieved at each stage caused riders to experience an overwhelming sense of elation - and Harmony of the Seas’ Ultimate Abyss recorded the highest combined thrill score across all stages. The initial arrival experience – riders climb the stairs leading up to the slide platform, walk over the clear platform suspended above a more than 90-foot drop – sets the tone for the experience, and when combined with the multisensory experience during the slide, Ultimate Abyss has a hugely thrilling effect. This combination of a natural phenomenon – the feeling of being small in comparison to the endless ocean view – coupled with a manmade experience (i.e. a stainless steel slide) is defining a new genre of thrill that is setting the standard for future attractions as people demand more extreme and expertly crafted thrill-seeking adventures.”

Harmony of the Seas is the world’s largest cruise ship with a bold and unexpected lineup of experiences found nowhere else on land or sea. An architectural marvel, Harmony of the Seas combines the distinct seven-neighborhood concept that Royal Caribbean's Oasis class of ships are known for with some of the most modern and groundbreaking amenities. Innovative features include The Ultimate Abyss, a thrilling slide 10 stories high – the tallest at sea, robot bartenders, virtual balconies with real-time views of the destination for interior rooms, and VOOM – the fastest internet at sea – so that guests can stay connected, stream their favorite entertainment and share their adventures.

Unparalleled entertainment in the air, in water and on ice will keep guests dazzled with exciting high-diving, acrobatic and aquatic performances in the deepest pool at sea at the iconic AquaTheater; an ice show extravaganza and Broadway’s hit musical Grease.

Imaginative dining in the ship's 20 venues include the widest variety of cuisine from Wonderland, a whimsical culinary adventure for the senses, to the popular Jamie's Italian by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

Harmony of the Seas will span 16 guest decks, encompass 226,963 gross registered tons, carry 5,479 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,747 staterooms.

Harmony of the Seas will homeport in Barcelona, Spain and embark on the first of 34 seven-night sailings in the western Mediterranean on June 7, exploring some of Europe’s most beautiful locations. In November 2016, Harmony will arrive at her homeport of Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, FL., from where she will offer seven-night eastern and western Caribbean sailings. The newest member of the fleet will join sister-ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, sailing from Port Canaveral and Port Everglades respectively, on the east coast of Florida

Launch Ceremony Held for Carnival Cruise Line’s Second Vista Class Vessel
Launch Ceremony Held for Carnival Cruise Line’s Second Vista Class VesselEarlier this week at Fincantieri’s historic Castellammare shipyard located along Italy’s Sorrento peninsula, a launch ceremony was held for Carnival Cruise Line’s second Vista-class ship scheduled to enter service in spring 2018.

Carnival President Christine Duffy served as godmother to this event, during which a gigantic, 300-foot-long section of the ship’s hull, constructed at the Fincantieri shipyard, was launched into the water via a traditional method that involved sliding the section down a ramp versus the newer, more common method of filling a dry dock with water.

After a priest’s blessing, Duffy cut a ceremonial cord, releasing the massive section into the water to great fanfare. The section will be moved via tug boats to Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard where other sections of the ship are being constructed. The second Vista-class ship will be completed at the Marghera shipyard and is scheduled to enter service in spring 2018.

The as-yet-unnamed 133,500-ton ship will offer a variety of dining, bar, entertainment and activity options currently featured aboard Carnival Vista, which debuted earlier this month, along with some innovations unique to this vessel.

Seabourn Opens New Signature Restaurant
Seabourn has announced the opening of its new signature restaurant, The Grill by Thomas Keller, on Seabourn Quest. With a menu, wine list and ambience inspired by a classic American chophouse, The Grill is a collaboration between three-star Michelin chef Thomas Keller and designer Adam D. Tihany, exclusively for Seabourn. The Grill by Thomas Keller officially opened for dinner on Seabourn Quest on May 21, 2016.

Richard Meadows, President of Seabourn; Adam Tihany, designer for The Grill; Chef Thomas Keller"The opening of The Grill by Thomas Keller marks the start of a new chapter in Seabourn's long history of award-winning cuisine," said Seabourn President Richard Meadows. "We are excited for guests to enjoy the restaurant's top-quality ingredients matched by a tremendous wine list, while traveling the world with Seabourn."

Located on Deck 8, The Grill focuses on updated versions of iconic dishes where guests are treated to American chophouse classics as well as a range of other steakhouse favorites. The timeless menu will draw on many artisan purveyors, while a wine list of domestic and old world labels personally curated by Chef Keller will complement each dish. Oenophiles and casual wine drinkers alike will find many rare offerings on the menu, which features more than 90 selections from around the world.

The interior designs by Adam D. Tihany enhance the dining experience with spaces that will be distinctive to the ship, yet defined by intimate settings with an elegant and warm masculine quality. The Grill by Thomas Keller is located in newly renovated spaces formerly occupied by Restaurant 2, which was extensively refit during a recent dry dock period.

Chef Thomas Keller began his partnership with Seabourn in 2015 and underlines the luxury cruise line's commitment to offering outstanding guest experiences.

The Grill will be open for dinner daily, and guests will have the opportunity to secure reservations online in advance of their cruise. In keeping with Seabourn's all-inclusive rates, there is no additional charge to dine at the specialty restaurant.

Disney Cruise Line Returning to New York, California and Texas in Fall 2017
In the fall of 2017, Disney Cruise Line will return to New York with sailings to the Bahamas and the Canadian coast – including a new seven-night Canada cruise. San Diego will serve as a home port with cruises to Mexico, and Galveston will again be a homeport with sailings to the Caribbean and Bahamas.

New Canada coast itinerary and new ports from New York - Disney Cruise Line returns to New York City in the fall of 2017, for a mix of voyages that include Canada coast and Bahamas itineraries.

Disney Magic sails into Galveston for the first time in 2012On Oct. 21, the Disney Magic will sail from New York on a seven-night Canada sailing – the line's longest-ever voyage to the Atlantic Canada coast. This sailing includes a new port of call for Disney Cruise Line – Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Bar Harbor, Maine, is another new port of call for Disney Cruise Line and part of a five-night sailing that departs New York on Sept. 27. This cruise also will stop at Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.

A total of six seven- and eight-night sailings to the Bahamas, all including a visit to Disney's private island, Castaway Cay, will be a part of the 2017 New York season.

Adding to the magic on each of the Bahamian cruises will be the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World Resort when the ship stops at Port Canaveral, Fla. Each guest on these sailings will receive a one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper ticket and round-trip transportation for the short drive between the ship and the resort.

Return to San Diego, California - In September and October of 2017, Disney Cruise Line will return to San Diego with a variety of Disney Wonder cruises to Baja and the Mexican Riviera.

On most Baja sailings, guests can visit Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico, to enjoy world-famous beaches and snorkeling. Two-night cruises depart San Diego on Sept. 15, Sept. 22 and Oct. 13, and a three-night cruise departs Oct. 5 and includes a day at sea.

Mexican Riviera itineraries feature snorkeling and scuba diving hot spots, while Puerto Vallerta and Mazatlan are where cliff divers, culture and ziplining through the jungle canopy take center stage. Seven-night itineraries departing on Sept. 24 and Oct. 15, call on Puerto Vallerta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. Four additional four- and five-night Mexican Riviera cruises set sail during the season in San Diego.

Return to Galveston, Texas - Disney Cruise Line returns to Galveston in 2017, with a line up of eight seven-night cruises to the Caribbean and the Bahamas. All Bahamian itineraries include a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas.

On Nov. 10 and Dec. 1, the Disney Wonder will sail a western Caribbean itinerary from Galveston to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Falmouth, Jamaica.

On Nov. 17, Nov. 24, Dec, 8, Dec. 15, Dec. 22 and Dec. 29, the Disney Wonder will sail from Galveston to Key West, Nassau and Castaway Cay.

Carnival Corporation Consolidates Media Planning, Buying with Omnicom's PHD
Carnival Corporation & plc the world's largest leisure travel company, today announced it is partnering with PHD, a leading Omnicom advertising agency, to handle all media planning and buying for seven of its 10 global cruise brands in North America and the United Kingdom.

Carnival Corporation Consolidates Media Planning, Buying with Omnicom's PHDFollowing an extensive agency review and media buying analysis, Carnival Corporation is consolidating from six agencies to a single firm, awarding PHD its media planning and buying business based on the firm's global expertise, capabilities and purchasing power for North America and the UK.

PHD will handle media planning and buying responsibilities for Carnival Cruise Line, Fathom, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, P&O Cruises UK and Cunard Line in the North America and UK markets. PHD currently supports media planning and buying for Carnival Cruise Line and Cunard Line.

The move leverages Carnival Corporation's scale as the world's largest cruise company to improve the strategic coordination of media buying across multiple brands in two of the world's largest regions for cruise vacations. It is expected to help generate awareness and drive increased demand for cruising, while creating multi-million dollar savings in media costs. In 2015, Carnival Corporation's six brands in the two regions combined for $116 million in media spend.

"We are excited to partner with the team at PHD across our leading portfolio of cruise brands in North America and in the UK," said Josh Leibowitz, chief strategy officer for Carnival Corporation. "Bringing together our brands to work with a world class agency like PHD enables us to further enhance our digital and traditional media strategies to grow demand for cruising as the world's best vacation choice."

Leibowitz added: "As part of our ongoing efforts to leverage our scale across 10 global cruise brands, this agreement enables our brands to work together in a completely new way. We appreciate everyone on our collective teams for all the hard work that made this possible."

PHD will use its significant purchasing power, sophisticated research resources and advanced business intelligence tools to provide Carnival Corporation strategic expertise and support for its marketing programs. PHD will work closely with the company and its brands on a framework that enables strategic coordination for media buying across multiple brands and regions, which will create efficiencies in media spending and help unlock demand for cruise vacations.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 49.91 - 0.16%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 78.26 + 2.07%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.50 + 0.40%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 46.76 - 1.29%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What year was the last four stacker liner removed from service and what was the name of the ship?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which classic liner included among her amenities: 20 dog kennels - each carpeted with running water - and a replica New York City fire hydrant for her canine passengers?

Answer - The first ship to have a fire hydrant and Parisian lampost is the France of 1962.
courtesy of Stephen Price

Cruise News - May 16, 2016

Royal Caribbean Conducts Delivery Ceremony Of Harmony Of The Seas
Royal Caribbean International today honored the crew and project team of the new Harmony of the Seas at a traditional delivery and flag changing ceremony in Saint Nazaire, France. Following 32 months of construction at the STX France shipyard involving thousands of shipyard employees, sub-contractors and suppliers, the world's largest and most innovative cruise ship is now home to 2,100 crew members from 77 different nationalities. Joining the festivities in the ship's signature AquaTheater were Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International together with Laurent Castaing, General Manager, STX France.

Royal Caribbean International today honored the crew and project team of the new Harmony of the Seas at a traditional delivery and flag changing ceremony in Saint Nazaire, France. Following 32 months of construction at the STX France shipyard involving thousands of shipyard employees, sub-contractors and suppliers, the world's largest and most innovative cruise ship is now home to 2,100 crew members from 77 different nationalities."Harmony of the Seas is the product of our zealous spirit of continuous improvement, where we have combined revolutionary ship design with the technological strides that have defined the Royal Caribbean brand," said Richard D. Fain. "Thank you to STX France for their ongoing partnership in building our ships, which continue to introduce unexpected industry innovations."

Royal Caribbean International today honored the crew and project team of the new Harmony of the Seas at a traditional delivery and flag changing ceremony in Saint Nazaire, France. Following 32 months of construction at the STX France shipyard involving thousands of shipyard employees, sub-contractors and suppliers, the world's largest and most innovative cruise ship is now home to 2,100 crew members from 77 different nationalities.

"Harmony is truly magnificent in every sense of the word, from her architecture and design to the level of care and attention to detail with which our incredible crew are taking to prepare for our first guests," said Michael Bayley. "The ship is the 'best of the best' of what our guests love most about Royal Caribbean, combined with new and thrilling experiences never before found in one place but it is the passion and dedication of our crew that will make everlasting memories for our guests."

Costing more than a $1billion, Harmony of the Seas will be the 25th ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet and boasts highly anticipated first-at-sea experiences, including:

• A 100-foot drop with The Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea, plunging courageous adrenaline seekers 10 stories down from deck 16 to the Boardwalk on deck 6 4,700,000 lbs. (2,150 tons) of water in 23 swimming pools, whirlpools, two FlowRider surf simulators and waterslides, including the Perfect Storm, a thrilling trio of waterslides, and the Splashaway Bay waterpark for young guests

• The first double-story Wonderland, the specialty restaurant concept first introduced onboard the global cruise line's Quantum class of ships delivering an imaginative and whimsical feast for all the senses

• The debut of Broadway's hit musical Grease in the Royal Theater and spectacular diving shows in the AquaTheater 11,252 works of art showcased throughout the ship and Central Park, a living park in the center of the ship which features a total of 10,587 plants, 48 vine plants and 52 trees, some over 20 feet (6.1 meters) high

• VOOM, the fastest internet at sea, available exclusively to Royal Caribbean guests, which allows travelers to seamlessly stay connected, stream their favorite entertainment, video chat and share their adventures with friends and family at home

Harmony of the Seas will homeport in Barcelona, Spain and embark on the first of 34 seven-night sailings in the western Mediterranean on June 7, exploring some of Europe's most beautiful locations. In November 2016, Harmony will arrive at her homeport of Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, FL., from where she will offer seven-night eastern and western Caribbean sailings. The newest member of the fleet will join sister-ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, sailing from Port Canaveral and Port Everglades respectively, on the east coast of Florida.

Carnival Vista Offers Nearly 30 Dining And Bar Venues
From authentic Asian delicacies and a New England–inspired seafood eatery to light bites with a Cuban flair, the new Carnival Vista offers an exciting and flavorful array of international dining choices.

The Chef's Table — This VIP experience starts with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres for an exclusive group of 14 guests, Complementing the delicious fare is a wide variety of bars, lounges and watering holes including the line's first on-board brewery.

With a comprehensive selection of eateries, Carnival Vista features several exclusive outlets that are only on board the line's newest, largest, and most innovative ship, including Seafood Shack, modeled after roadside seafood stands that dot the New England coast, and expanded versions of Bonsai Sushi and Cherry on Top offering both indoor and outdoor seating.

International flavors take center stage on Carnival Vista, taking guests on a culinary journey around the world. Ji Ji Asian Kitchen offers a taste of the Orient; BlueIguana Cantina features fresh Mexican cuisine and a tortilla-making machine; Cucina del Capitano brings the flavors of Italy on board; and Fahrenheit 555 is a classic American steakhouse.

Several bars also serve a light menu that perfectly pairs with a cocktail or brew. Havana Bar offers authentic Cuban pastries, sandwiches and other bites while guests at RedFrog Pub & Brewery can enjoy Caribbean-inspired pub fare like grouper fingers, Jamaican-style chicken wings and more, in addition to the three different craft beers brewed on board.

Dining venues and bars featured on Carnival Vista include:

• BlueIguana Cantina – Open for breakfast and lunch, BlueIguana Cantina serves authentic tacos on fresh-made tortillas and made-to-order burritos that can be personalized by diners at an extensive salsa and toppings bar.

• Bonsai Sushi — Bonsai Sushi has been expanded on Carnival Vista to offer cooked-to-order items like Shrimp Tempura, Chicken Katsu, Omakase (Chef's Choice) and various noodle bowls, complementing a variety of sushi, sashimi and bento boxes.

• Cherry on Top — For those with a sweet tooth, Cherry on Top serves up ingredients mixed by hand and made to order. Cool concoctions include a base of ice cream and at least four toppings, from whipped cream and hot fudge to Oreo cookie pieces and pineapple chunks. Additionally, when guests order Brownie Buoy – hand-selected by kids at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital – a donation is made to the hospital.

• Cucina del Capitano — A celebration of Carnival Cruise Line's deep roots in Italy — all of the fleet's captains are Italian — Cucina del Capitano serves up a variety of Italian favorites family-style.

• Fahrenheit 555 — This classic American steakhouse offers mouth-watering steaks and other gourmet fare with impeccable service.

• Guy's Burger Joint — A guest favorite, Guy's features fresh-made burgers, hand-cut fries and innovative toppings created in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri.

• Havana Bar — This popular bar specializing in mojitos and Cuba Libres has added a bar menu. From Sabor de Habana, a sampler plate, to ceviche de mariscos, ropa vieja and pan con bistec, guests can taste authentic dishes of Cuba.

• JavaBlue Café — Featuring coffee straight-up, or perhaps with an upgrade, JavaBlue Café serves hot and cold drinks with a fun twist. Guests also can enjoy sweet treats and comfort snacks.

• Ji Ji Asian Kitchen — Serving up enticing dishes in an eclectic space, Ji Ji brings not only great food, but good fortune to the table. Offering a full-service menu featuring a mix of exotic and familiar dishes designed to challenge and delight the senses, the venue offers a truly unique culinary experience.

• Pizzeria del Capitano — Pizzeria del Capitano offers five varieties of hand-tossed artisanal-style pizza, all available free of charge 24 hours a day.

• Lido Marketplace — A casual poolside eatery offering an array of international favorites, from paninis to comfort food to a New York-style deli and just about everything in between.

• Ocean Plaza — An indoor/outdoor café serving cappuccinos, lattes, and espressos as well as pastries and other confections.

• RedFrog Pub & Brewery — Delicious Caribbean bites are served here, but the star is the hand-crafted beer brewed on board in the line's first onboard brewery developed in collaboration with Miami-based Concrete Beach Brewery. The Caribbean-inspired brews include the aromatic and citrusy ThirstyFrog Port Hoppin' IPA, ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat spiced and unfiltered ale, and rich and creamy FriskyFrog Java Stout.

• Seafood Shack – A Carnival Vista exclusive, Seafood Shack features traditional fare like New England clam chowder, lobster rolls, crab cake sliders and fried clam strips served by the bucket, with steamed lobster, snow crab, peel-and-eat shrimp and raw oysters sold by the pound.

• Serenity — Salads, sandwiches, wraps and other light fare is available at the ship's exclusive adults-only retreat.

• Shake Spot — Shake Spot offers more than just your average shakes and floats. Guests can sip on hand-crafted classics, fruity-flavored treats and even spiked indulgences.

• The Chef's Table — This VIP experience starts with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres for an exclusive group of 14 guests, followed by a tour to see the galley in operation. The evening concludes with an impressive full-service dinner of appetizers, entrees and desserts not found on the regular menus, all hosted by one of the ship's master chefs.

• The Taste Bar — Offering complimentary bite-size preview offerings inspired by popular Carnival dining venues, along with a signature cocktail tied to the day's particular theme available for purchase.

• American Table/American Feast – Featuring extensive menus and wine lists in the Horizons and Reflections main dining rooms with a wide range of appetizers, side dishes, entrees and desserts, as well as shareable items for the table.

Carnival Vista debuted May 1 with a 13-day cruise departing from Trieste, Italy -- the first European voyage for Carnival in three years. A variety of spectacular Mediterranean itineraries will be offered with port calls throughout Italy, France, Spain and Croatia as well as several new destinations for Carnival such as Crete (Heraklion), and Corfu, Greece; Valletta, Malta; Palermo, Sicily; Cagliari, Sardinia; and Gibraltar.

On Oct. 21, 2016, Carnival Vista embarks on a special 13-day transatlantic crossing and arrives in New York Nov. 3, then operates a pair of 11-day voyages from the Big Apple before repositioning to Miami for year-round Caribbean departures later that month.

Celebrity Cruises Completes Celebrity Millennium Makeover
Movies viewed under the stars and paired with a specially curated menu of delectable food; freshly redecorated suites; a modernized, fully realized Italian steakhouse -- modern luxury vacationers need look no further than Celebrity Millennium to understand what all of these experiences have in common. This month, the 2,138-guest vessel will emerge from a drydock refresh reenergized and more luxurious than ever, with the same lineup of stunning enhancements that Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Infinity have received in recent months. Guests sailing on Celebrity Millennium in Alaska this summer will be among the first to enjoy her new spaces and experiences.

The new Rooftop Terrace includes a large screen, chaise longues, cabanas, soundscape and decorative lighting"We are beyond thrilled that Celebrity Millennium will soon be even more stunning than ever before as a result of the $8 million that we're investing in this drydock," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President & CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "We have added new elements and experiences that will help open up the world for modern luxury travelers, from our gorgeously updated Suite Class staterooms onboard to the amazingly delicious Tuscan Grille menu, and, of course, the new Rooftop Terrace."

The new Rooftop Terrace, complete with its large screen, chaise longues, cabanas, soundscape and decorative lighting, is a modern relaxing backdrop for Celebrity's sumptuous new multisensory experience, "A Taste of Film," which presents films that evoke a specific cultural, culinary or destination experience, paired with cuisine that brings the scenes on the screen to life through guests' taste buds. The cruise brand's culinary team, led by Michelin-starred chef Cornelius Gallagher, has specially crafted a multi-course tasting menu for each "A Taste of Film" selection. The Rooftop Terrace is on the ship's 12th deck.

Additional drydock enhancements will include significant renovations of the ship's Penthouse and Royal Suites. As part of the $8 million refresh plan, Celebrity is investing heavily in its Suite Class experience on Celebrity Millennium, as every Penthouse and Royal Suite will receive new glimmering fixtures, marble surfaces, and comfortable seats in the bathrooms. The rest of the suite will get refreshing touches like new carpeting, drapes, and bed linens.

Conversion of Celebrity Millennium's Olympic restaurant to Tuscan Grille, Celebrity's popular, Italian-inspired steakhouse that debuted on its Solstice Class ships, will include complete refinishing of the space and the introduction of a refreshed menu designed to tantalize, including fresh pasta made in-house; an Italian cocktail menu, a first for Tuscan Grille; a wine list focused on the wine-growing regions of Italy; and new foods like artisanal salumi and cheeses; crispy crab arancini with lemon pepper aioli; grilled branzino with spinach and olive oil; swordfish with Castelvetrano olives, fennel and white wine; and oven-roasted USDA Prime dry-aged steak.

On Celebrity Millennium, the maritime artifacts in the Olympic will be featured in a special display area in the casino's entry vestibule. Items include charts, maps, an original place setting, a ship model, and more.

Additional work taking place onboard will include:

• The addition of an enclosed portrait studio similar to that found on Celebrity's Solstice Class ships, Celebrity Eclipse and Celebrity Equinox

• The creation of a new future cruise sales office, where guests can take advantage of special offers

• A refresh of the Solarium, with new furniture, new floors, and refinished pool tops, and a refresh of finishes in the spa café

• The removal of the themed décor in the ship's casino

Celebrity Millenium entered drydock on April 26, 2016 and will emerge on May 12, 2016. This summer, Celebrity Millennium will sail a series of open-jaw itineraries between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seward, Alaska, before heading to Asia in September for her winter season there.

Fathom Adds Sailing Dates Through December 2017
Fathom, the pioneer in social impact travel today announced additional sailing dates, extending Fathom MV Adonia's stay in the Caribbean region through December 2017. The move comes as demand continues to grow for Fathom – a different kind of cruise that combines one's love of travel with the desire to make a difference in the world.

A classic American car serving as a taxi in Havana drives past Carnival Corporation's Fathom Adonia cruise ship"We have been humbled by the tremendous response Fathom has received from travelers eager to experience Fathom while helping the Dominican Republic to flourish and making history through human connections and immersive experiences in Cuba," said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation. "Fathom resonates with travelers as the best way to travel with intention, to culturally immerse, to experience and to see more. For example, Fathom visits three incredible, diverse locations in Cuba during its itinerary while having the convenience of unpacking once and savoring the comforts of premium accommodations aboard the intimate, small-ship, MV Adonia – not to mention its excellent and diverse dining, service and onboard amenities."

According to Russell, Fathom also appeals to travelers as a meaningful way to experience personal growth while making purposeful and engaging contributions to the world, starting in the Dominican Republic. "There is genuine excitement about Fathom's ability to empower travelers to serve and immerse alongside locals in the Dominican Republic to create scalable and sustainable, transformative impact that will play an important role in helping the Caribbean region flourish," she said.

Fathom will depart on weekly seven-day voyages from PortMiami aboard the MV Adonia, a 704-passenger vessel redeployed from Carnival Corporation's P&O Cruises (UK) brand and ideal for delivering an intimate onboard experience. Dates for seven-day voyages departing on Sundays roundtrip from Miami during 2017 include the dates below. Fathom's reservations systems will be ready to take 2017 bookings by June 1, 2016.

Dominican Republic:
Dec. 4, Dec. 18, Jan. 1, Jan. 15, Jan. 29, Feb. 12, Feb. 26, March 12, March 26, April 9, April 23, May 7, May 21, June 4, June 18, July 2, July 16, July 30, Aug. 13, Aug. 27, Sept. 10, Sept. 24, Oct. 8, Oct. 22, Nov. 5, Nov. 19, Dec. 3, Dec. 17, Dec. 31

Nov. 27, Dec. 11, Dec. 25, Jan. 8, Jan. 22, Feb. 5, Feb. 19, March 5, March 19, April 2, April 16, April 30, May 14, May 28, June 11, June 25, July 9, July 23, Aug. 6, Aug. 20, Sept. 3, Sept. 17, Oct. 1, Oct. 15, Oct. 29, Nov. 12, Nov. 26, Dec. 10, Dec. 24

"The decision to add 2017 Fathom sailing dates underscores our enthusiasm for Fathom and our experience to date with the impact it is having," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "The feedback from travelers, travel professionals, community leaders and our own employees has been extremely positive. Our travelers and trade partners are asking for additional sailing dates – and we are happy to oblige."

Carnival Valor Undergoes Extensive Makeover That Adds A Variety Of Popular Dining And Bar Concepts
In preparation for its new year-round program of three- and four-day voyages from Port Canaveral kicking off later this year, Carnival Valor has undergone an extensive renovation that added a variety of popular dining and bar concepts, including Guy’s Burger Joint, RedFrog Pub, SkyBox Sports Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar and Alchemy Bar. The new spaces were added during a dry dock that began April 23 and ran through May 8, 2016.

Carnival Valor Undergoes Extensive Makeover That Adds A Variety Of Popular Dining And Bar Concepts“Carnival Valor offers a convenient and affordable choice from Port Canaveral, with a host of exciting new innovations as well as popular features like a reservations-only steakhouse and nearly 600 balcony staterooms – rare for a short cruise itinerary,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We’re sure our guests are going to love all the new features and our travel agent partners will appreciate this exciting new cruise vacation option departing from the Space Coast,” she added.

Carnival Valor is one of four ships that sail from Port Canaveral which is also home to Carnival Magic and Carnival Victory offering year-round departures, as well as Carnival Sunshine operating seasonal sailings. Together, these four ships will carry more than 650,000 guests a year – more than any other cruise operator.

New features being added to Carnival Valor include:

• Guy’s Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries in an atmosphere that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture

• RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside bar offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own ThirstyFrog Red

• BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor watering hole offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin’ by the pool

• BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic, freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar

• RedFrog Pub: at this tropics-inspired watering hole, guests can enjoy the Caribbean’s best rums and beers – including, of course, Carnival’s own ThirstyFrog Red – while soaking up the distinct British-West-Indies-meets-Key-West ambiance

• Alchemy Bar: a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” that’s the go-to spot for guests seeking a unique experience with mixologists who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients or guests’ own custom-created cocktails

• SkyBox Sports Bar: a sports lovers’ paradise where guests can catch live sporting events and check out scores on the real-time 24/7 sports ticker

• Cherry On Top: the “sweetest spot on board” which celebrates the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun fanciful gifts and novelties, custom apparel and more

Carnival Valor kicks off its year-round three- and four-day Bahamas cruise schedule from Port Canaveral Oct. 30, 2016. On this route, three-day cruises depart Thursdays and call at Nassau while four-day voyages depart Sundays and feature Nassau and Freeport.

Carnival Valor will also offer a series of three- to five-day cruises in May 2016, as well as a program of five- and eight-day departures through October 2016. The three- to five-day sailings will take place throughout May, visiting popular ports like Grand Turk, Amber Cove, Half Moon Cay, Nassau and Freeport. The ship will also offer a one-time six-day cruise departing May 15 featuring Nassau, Amber Cove and Grand Turk.

The five- to eight-day voyages will run June 4 to Sept. 30, 2016. Five-day cruises visit Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Freeport. Eight-day eastern Caribbean cruises call at Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts and St. Maarten and eight-day southern Caribbean sailings include Aruba, Grand Turk and Curaçao or Bonaire.

Financial Highlights
The Board of Directors of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today declared a quarterly dividend of $0.375 per common share payable on June 13, 2016, to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 31, 2016.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 49.99 + 0.48%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 76.67 + 1.24%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.49 + 1.22%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 47.35 - 3.86%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which classic liner included among her amenities: 20 dog kennels - each carpeted with running water - and a replica New York City fire hydrant for her canine passengers?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which popular French liner of the 1950's started her career crossing the Atlantic for North German Lloyd Line?

Answer - The "Liberte" ex "Europa"
courtesy of WP Dreyer

Cruise News - May 9, 2016

Historic Cruise to Cuba a Step Back in Time; Sail Soon Before Island's Sweet Past is History
By Guest Contributor Sharon Kenny

This is not your father's Cuba. Oh wait, yes it is. At least for now. I spent last week on the Adonia, the first U.S. cruise ship to sail to Cuba from the U.S. in more than half a century, and while the cliché is true -- it is like stepping back in time -- even more overwhelming is the sense that this is all going to change. Fast.

Cuba is the largest Caribbean island, 1 ½ times longer than the state of Florida, and visiting three stops at opposite ends of the country would be difficult if not impossible in one week by car. Traveling by cruise ship was comfortable and easy. Immigration was simple, our passports already contained the required Cuban visas, arranged by our cruise line Fathom, one of Carnival Corporation's 10 cruise brands, and the first to receive approval from the U.S. and Cuba for travel to Cuba.

A classic American car serving as a taxi in Havana drives past Carnival Corporation's Fathom Adonia cruise shipWithin minutes of leaving Adonia, which carries only 704 passengers, we stepped onto the street in Havana to crowds of people cheering and waving to welcome us with shouts of "Welcome America!" and "We're so glad you're here!"

That first day in Havana was surreal, like I'd stepped onto the set of an old movie. Havana seems to have been frozen somewhere in the 1950s. Not painted, not repaired, not updated. The colonnaded city squares have gotten some fresh coats of paint, but following one of the narrow streets in any direction will lead you into a maze of what must have been a spectacularly beautiful city in the 1950s, but now in varying states of disrepair and slow rebuilding.

But the potential for what this city can be once again is staggering. Architectural beauty abounds in street after street of majestic arches that for now house maybe a small table of handmade crafts for sale, stately columned buildings painted in faded Caribbean colors, and elaborate iron-railed balconies hung with laundry. Havana is a big city, about two million people live here, and "the triumph of the revolution" as my young guide told me, which nationalized personal property, resulted in a jumble of new residents moving into what once were luxurious mansions and apartments.

The basic necessities we take for granted such as no air conditioning-- I was prepared for that in Havana. But no lighting? Almost all inside spaces are dark, often lit by a single hanging incandescent bulb. Maybe.

But for me, what was missing was the best of all: no smart phones, no blaring televisions or pre-recorded musical assaults. No one was staring into their computer screen or looking down at their phones. Groups of children played in the squares with a large empty plastic water bottle and sticks, not with their heads buried in tablets. People waiting for the bus were talking, and young people walked holding hands, not their phones.

The lack of internet and phone service – which has only recently become available in limited areas -- has kept Cubans engaged in the present. People everywhere were interacting with each other and with us, the new visitors from America. Live bands of acoustic guitars, a bass and a flute or bongos played in almost every bar, and I never saw a television used as background entertainment. The sound of live Cuban music was everywhere. And the smell of cigars. Not cigar smoke, just a background, pleasant undertone of cigars was everywhere.

The new rules for travel in Cuba mean freedom from rules in general. You can choose to stay with the daily tours included with your Fathom tour, or you can "self-certify" in advance and head out on your own all day or leave your tour whenever the mood strikes you to explore wherever you'd like.

Since you sleep each night in the comfort of the Fathom Adonia, finding a good hotel is not an issue, and you can even return to the ship for your meals if you want, though I found the Cuban food was generally very good. There are no McDonalds or Starbucks or large restaurants or stores of any kind in Old Town Havana, only paladares--privately-owned restaurants.

And there was very little to buy, even on Obispo, one of the main shopping streets. Small art galleries are sprinkled throughout the narrow streets or a few paintings and crafts hang on the outside of tiny stores -- probably because it's so dark inside! An antique and book market featured post-revolutionary books and fascinating small collectibles, particularly Soviet pins and other memorabilia. Prices were shockingly low and only Cuban currency was accepted or sometimes Euros, and no one took American money or credit cards.

My two days in Havana with Fathom gave me a quick overview of all this city has to offer. There is history -- castles and museums abound, and if you want to explore recent history, Revolutionary Square with images of Che Guevara and other revolutionary heroes and soaring marble towers is a must. Transportation around the city is easy, and lots of my fellow cruise ship passengers ended up leaving their tours early to hire one of the old American cars to drive them around the city.

But for me the highlight was exploring the character-filled bars that peeked out through doorways, in courtyards and on rooftops all over Old Town Havana. I ended each afternoon idling away a few hours exploring, talking with locals, and bar hopping, trying out daiquiris, mojitos and Cuba Libres, listening to one fabulous band after another until the draw of that next bar and that next band would pull me away.

Everywhere the Cuban people were sincere and welcoming, and they all seemed to have known that the American cruise ship was coming. "We've been waiting for you for so long," a young woman told me.

In the evening, the low lighting makes the streets of Havana even more romantic and mysterious, so an after dinner visit to the famous Tropicana is a dazzling and colorful surprise. This enormous outdoor variety show is part Las Vegas, part Godfather and all spectacle. Elaborately costumed dancers and singers perform on different stages throughout the outdoor venue, even into the audience, and a live orchestra surrounds you with a constant drumbeat of music. I was mesmerized from the moment I stepped onto the property.

This is the dazzling Cuban nightclub featured in the movie Godfather 2, but I didn't know the Tropicana really existed and I certainly never expected this glamorous side of Havana to have survived from those pre-Revolutionary days. But it does exist and thrives and it is not to be missed.

Our early evening sailaway from Havana was bittersweet and too soon coming but the harbor was once again lined with Cubans shouting and waving farewell. With the Fathom Adonia arriving every two weeks, I hope this will become a tradition.

Our second stop in Cuba was Cienfuegos, a small town on the southern coast with a beautiful square of French Colonial buildings. We walked the narrow streets to a theatre unchanged since the 19th Century where we listened to a choral group sing traditional Cuban and American songs. It was a quick change from the big city of Havana and a good transition to our next stop a day's sail away and a world away in attitude.

Santiago de Cuba is a long way from Havana and the mountainous terrain makes this a slow, difficult drive from the capital. Without a doubt, the best and most picturesque way to arrive here is to sail into the long, beautiful harbor by ship. Cuba's second largest city was the original capital and its harbor has been guarded by the imposing Castillo del Morro since the 17th century. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Castillo is a labyrinth of rooms and battlements with old cannons and anchors strewn about and not a guard in sight.

Santiago de Cuba's hilly narrow streets are lined with colorful wooden buildings and lots of the 1950s-era graphic signs have survived along the downtown streets. It seems a much more commercial city than Havana yet in other ways less modern. Unlike the horse-drawn carriages in Havana that seemed mainly for the tourists, the streets of Santiago de Cuba were filled with real working horse carts transporting people and cargo throughout the city streets. Vendors sold fresh vegetables from push carts, and there was more obvious poverty and panhandling.

The beautiful mountainous setting, the architecture and the more active atmosphere in Santiago de Cuba is completely different than Havana.

Visiting both cities, plus the much smaller Cienfuegos, as well as being able to see the beautiful coastline up close as we almost circumnavigated the island in a week, gave me a much more well-rounded view of Cuba.

This was not a trip to just another Caribbean island; it was a trip into a sweeter, pleasanter past before we became obsessed with technology. But with Americans now able to combine the slow joys of cruising with a more thorough exploration of this large, fascinating island just a one night sail from Miami, how long will this living cultural museum last? Who knows? Go now.

AIDA Cruises Welcomes AIDAprima to Fleet
AIDA Cruises officially welcomed its newest ship into the family over the weekend with the christening of AIDAprima, now the flagship vessel for the German-based brand of Carnival Corp.

AIDAprima made its debut with a spectacular light show and memorable naming ceremony witnessed in person by 1.6 million visitors at the 827th Hamburg Port Anniversary. AIDAprima launched as the corporation's most environmentally friendly ship and the first cruise ship in the world with a dual-fuel engine that can be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) while in port and at sea.

AIDAprima made its debut with a spectacular light show and memorable naming ceremony"The christening was an emotional moment for me – I'm very proud of our new ship," said Felix Eichhorn, president of AIDA Cruises. "With AIDAprima and the next three new ships to be built for our line, we are once again charting new territory in the tourism industry, and we will continue to drive growth in the German cruise market."

Several million people watched the festivities at the harbor, on television, online and on Facebook when the young actress Emma Schweiger christened the ship. A dazzling music and light show followed by brilliant fireworks turned the night sky over the Port of Hamburg's festival promenade into a glittering sea of color. AIDAprima was accompanied for the occasion by another member of the fleet, AIDAaura, which was also part of the christening ceremony.

"We are thrilled to officially welcome such a beautiful and technologically advanced ship to our fleet, and it was only fitting that AIDAprima's naming was celebrated with a show and ceremony as impressive as the ship itself," said Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer for Carnival Corporation. "This weekend marked another important milestone as we welcome four new ships to our fleet in 2016. Whether we are sailing our new or existing ships, our number one goal always remains the same – to do everything we can to make sure our guests have a great experience."

Carnival Corporation has now taken delivery of three new ships in 2016. In addition to AIDAprima, Carnival Cruise Line took delivery of its 3,954-passenger Carnival Vista on April 28, while Holland America Line celebrated the handover of its 2,650-passenger ms Koningsdam on April 2. The company is scheduled to receive its fourth new ship delivery of 2016 when the Seabourn Encore joins the fleet later this year. Including Seabourn's new Encore ship, Carnival Corporation has a total of 15 new ships scheduled to be delivered between 2016 and 2020.

To add to this past weekend's excitement, on Saturday AIDAprima successfully completed the full test run for its LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) operation, meaning the ship will be able to operate with the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel while in port – a first for the cruise industry and another positive outcome for the environment as running on LNG in port will lead to a reduction in emissions when the ship is docked.

Compared to the use of conventional marine diesel with 0.1 percent sulfur content, emissions and particle discharge will be significantly reduced by using LNG, and the emission of sulfur oxide and soot particles will be completely prevented. Nitrogen oxide emissions will be reduced by up to 80 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent.

"LNG is the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel, and with AIDAprima, we are the first cruise line in the world to supply a ship with low-emission LNG for operation in port," said Eichhorn. "We are once again proving that we are pioneers of innovation, and I am convinced that our path is a clear signal to the ports and LNG producers to invest in the necessary infrastructure."

Additionally, Carnival Corporation's four next-generation cruise ships for Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises set to be delivered in 2019 and 2020 will be the first in the industry to be powered at sea by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), representing another major environmental breakthrough. Pioneering a new era in the use of sustainable fuels, these new ships will use LNG to generate 100 percent of the ship's power both in port and on the open sea – an industry-first innovation that will significantly reduce exhaust emissions to help protect the environment and support the company's aggressive sustainability goals.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Reports Financial Results for the First Quarter 2016
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.(together with NCL Corporation Ltd., “Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings”, “Norwegian” or the “Company,”) today reported financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2016, as well as provided guidance for the second quarter and full year 2016.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Reports Financial Results for the First Quarter 2016“We are pleased to report another quarter of solid financial performance and significant earnings growth driven primarily by strong pricing with robust demand in the Caribbean driving net yield growth above our expectations,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. “We are on track to reach our stated targets of $5.00 Adjusted EPS in 2017 and double-digit return on invested capital on an adjusted basis in 2016, growing to 14% by 2018. Our recent announcements regarding our China-dedicated ship, Norwegian Joy, have been extremely well-received in the Chinese market giving us strong momentum prior to the ship’s introduction in 2017,” continued Del Rio.

First Quarter 2016 Results
Net Income was $73.2 million, or $0.32 per share compared to a loss of ($21.5) million or ($0.10) per share in the prior year. The Company generated Adjusted Net Income of $86.7 million, or $0.38 per share compared to $62.6 million or $0.27 per share in the prior year. Adjusted EPS increased 41% over prior year, benefiting from solid Adjusted Net Yield performance as a result of strong pricing along with the earnings benefit from the Norwegian Escape which joined the fleet in October 2015.

Total Revenue for the Company increased 14.9% to $1.1 billion compared to $938.2 million in 2015. Adjusted Net Revenue in the period increased 15.1% to $838.7 million compared to $728.9 million in 2015, primarily as a result of the addition of Norwegian Escape. Adjusted Net Yield improved 3.6% on a Constant Currency basis (2.5% on an as reported basis), mainly due to higher pricing benefiting from strength in the Caribbean and strong onboard revenue. Gross Yield increased 2.4%.

Adjusted Net Cruise Cost Excluding Fuel per Capacity Day increased 1.5% on a Constant Currency basis (1.1% on an as reported basis), primarily due to an increase in marketing expense as well as two scheduled dry-docks in the quarter compared to the prior year which had one dry-dock in the period. Gross Cruise Costs per Capacity Day decreased 3.2%.

Fuel price per metric ton, net of hedges, decreased 16.7% to $438 from $526 in 2015. The Company reported fuel expense of $81.7 million, which excluded a loss of $5.2 million recorded in other income (expense), related to the ineffective portion of its fuel hedge portfolio due to market volatility.

Interest expense, net increased to $59.8 million from $51.0 million as a result of higher interest rates due to an increase in LIBOR rates as well as an increase in average debt balances outstanding primarily associated with the delivery of Norwegian Escape.

Other income (expense) of $2.8 million included a gain from the fair value increase related to a foreign exchange collar for the Seven Seas Explorer newbuild, partially offset by a $4.2 million loss on foreign currency exchange and the aforementioned loss on fuel hedges.

The Company repurchased approximately $50 million of the Company’s outstanding ordinary shares under its previously authorized three-year, $500 million share repurchase program. As of March 31, 2016, $264 million remained available for repurchases.

Sale of Hawaii Land-based Operations
In the first quarter of 2016, the Company executed an agreement to divest its interest in a certain land- based operation in Hawaii. The amount of the transaction is considered immaterial to the Company’s consolidated financial statements. The agreement is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of all required regulatory approvals. The sale is expected to be completed during 2016. The Company’s first quarter financial results include the results from this operation. For purposes of comparison to the guidance provided by the Company in its prior release, key operational metrics excluding the results of this operation are as follows:

Adjusted Net Yield growth on a Constant Currency basis would have been 3.9% compared to guidance of approximately 2.5% and 2.7% on an as reported basis (excluding the results of the aforementioned operation) compared to guidance of approximately 1.75%.?

Adjusted Net Cruise Costs Excluding Fuel per Capacity Day growth on a Constant Currency basis would have been 1.6% compared to guidance of approximately 2.0% and 1.3% on an as reported basis (excluding the results of the aforementioned operation) compared to guidance of approximately 1.75%.?

2016 Outlook
“Continued strong demand in the Caribbean, Alaska, Bermuda, and Hawaii is offsetting softness in Europe which comes mainly as a result of lower demand from North American consumers,” said Wendy Beck, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. “While this softness is tempering yield growth mainly in the second quarter, strong bookings and pricing in other core markets, as well as the addition of Seven Seas Explorer to our fleet, are contributing to strong yield performance in the back half of the year, keeping us on track to deliver expected earnings growth of approximately 30%,” continued Beck.?

Sirena joined the Oceania Cruises’ fleet in March and her first sailing commenced in late April following an extensive, multi-million dollar upgrade and refurbishment. Seven Seas Explorer, the first newbuild for Regent Seven Seas Cruises in over thirteen years, will join the fleet in the third quarter.

2016 Guidance and Sensitivities
In addition to announcing the results for the first quarter, the Company also provided guidance for the second quarter and full year 2016, along with accompanying sensitivities, which both exclude the results of the aforementioned land-based operation in Hawaii.

Viking Ocean Cruises Christens Second Ship In London
Last week in London Viking Ocean Cruises officially welcomed its second ship, Viking Sea, to its fleet during a celebration on the Thames River in Greenwich.

Though Viking's ocean ships are classified as "small ships" by Cruise Critic, the 930-guest, 47,800-ton Viking Sea is the largest ship ever launched in London. After passing through the Thames Barrier this morning, the ship received a warm welcome by 28 able sea men, who manned the yardarms of the Cutty Sark – the iconic 19th Century British clipper ship – and saluted Viking Sea as she arrived in Greenwich.

Viking Ocean Cruises Christens Viking Sea Ship In LondonToday is a proud day for our Viking family. London is one of my favorite cities, and Greenwich is a significant port for Viking. We look forward to bringing more guests here this spring and in future years," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "Our ships are built for exploration; they are vessels that help our guests spend more time immersed in and surrounded by their destination. With the arrival of our second ship – and with four more sister ships on the way – we are focused on introducing travelers to the Viking way of destination-centered cruising, a unique style that was inspired by our success on the rivers."

After arriving today in Greenwich, Viking Sea was positioned in the Thames River with decorated pontoons nearby to welcome guests for various shore excursions around the city. This evening onboard, as part of the ship's christening – or naming – ceremony, guests were treated to a concert from Norwegian soprano Sissel and The Olav's Choir. Guests also enjoyed a talk by Stein Olav Henrichsen, the director of Oslo's Munch Museum – as part of the official launch of Viking's exclusive new partnership with the museum that is designed to celebrate the life and artwork of Norway's most famous artist, Edvard Munch, with daily "Munch Moments," staged for guests each day in the ship's Atrium. D

uring Viking Sea's christening ceremony, Karine Hagen, Viking's senior vice president and daughter of Torstein Hagen, served as ceremonial godmother and offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for Viking Sea – a naval tradition that dates back thousands of years. Widely recognized as the face of the brand in Viking's television ads and online cultural enrichment videos (www.exploringmore.com), Karine is responsible for infusing the company's itineraries with extraordinary experiences. She is also the author of the children's books, "The World of Finse" (www.finse.me), an educational series that showcases the adventures of Karine's yellow Labrador, Finse. The series is set largely along the global destinations and routes of Viking's cruises, and the books are sold onboard Viking's ships. As a response to guest requests, Finse also took part in today's christening events.

Several elements of the christening ceremony paid homage to the company's Norwegian heritage. Instead of champagne for the traditional bottle-breaking, Viking Sea was christened with a bottle of Gammel Opland aquavit, which hails from the same town in Norway where Torstein's mother and Karine's grandmother, Ragnhild – also lovingly known as "Mamsen" – was born. "Mamsen's," the Norwegian deli onboard Viking Sea, was also named after Ragnhild, and Gammel Opland was her favorite brand of aquavit. Additionally, in honor of the original Vikings who once explored the British Isles, a Viking battle axe was used to cut the cord for the aquavit christening. The particular broad axe used is a replica of an 11th-century Viking axe discovered in the 1920s when it was dredged from the bottom of the Thames River near the London Bridge. Following the christening and a fireworks show held in the middle of the Thames River, Viking Sea will set sail tomorrow for Bergen, and from there she will continue on to Oslo, Copenhagen, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Helsinki and Stockholm on the popular 15-day Viking Homelands itinerary.

Viking Sea's christening was the culmination of a maiden voyage that began April 3 when the ship set sail in the Mediterranean. Over the last month, she made stops in what will be regular ports, including Athens, Santorini, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Venice, Rome and Barcelona. Viking Sea will spend the summer sailing itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic; she will call on Greenwich again in June as part of Viking's new Into the Midnight Sun itinerary that sails between London and Bergen and explores the northernmost reaches of Scandinavia and sails across the Arctic Circle.

Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, boast 465 cabins and accommodate 930 passengers. Viking Sea is the second of six ocean cruise ships currently planned for the fleet. The third and fourth ships, Viking Sky and Viking Sun are under construction and will be delivered in early 2017 and late 2017, respectively. The two remaining yet-to-be-named ships will be delivered in 2018 and 2020. Viking's ocean fleet features understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design.

RCL To Sell a 51 Percent Stake in Pullmantur and CDF
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL or "Royal Caribbean") and Madrid-based private equity firm Springwater Capital ("Springwater") today announced an agreement to form a joint venture dedicated to bringing culturally authentic, best-in-class cruise experiences tailored to Spanish and French tourists through the management of the Pullmantur and Croisières de France ("CDF") cruise brands.

Pullmantur 's MS SovereignAs part of the terms of the agreement, RCL will sell a 51 percent stake in Pullmantur and CDF to Springwater. RCL will have a 49 percent stake, and retain full ownership of the ships and planes currently operated by Pullmantur and CDF, which will be leased into the joint venture. RCL will also provide marine operations services to Pullmantur and CDF through a management agreement.

This joint venture expands on the successful, pre-existing partnership between RCL and Springwater for the Wamos air transport, travel agency, and tour operation businesses. This investment also expands Springwater's existing tourism portfolio, which includes airline and travel agency investments in Spain, France and Portugal.

"Pullmantur and CDF have a long history of offering authentic, localized cruise vacations to their home markets," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Caribbean. "We look forward to the new focus that this joint venture with Springwater will bring to these companies as they seek to grow."

Fain added: "Given the signs of recovery we have seen in the Spanish economy, as well as increased interest in cruising from tourists in France, we think this is the right time to bring together the extensive experience of our deeply valued employees at Pullmantur and CDF with the local travel and tourism expertise of the Springwater team. Springwater's local management presence in Madrid, coupled with RCL's long-standing history in cruise operations, will provide the foundation for improved returns in the future."

Martin Gruschka, Chief Executive Officer of Springwater, added: "We are delighted to announce the joint venture with Royal Caribbean, and look forward to working with Pullmantur and CDF employees. The transaction leverages our firm's travel sector expertise, and will take advantage of Pullmantur and CDF's strong client and travel industry relationships in the Spanish and French markets. These relationships – paired with Royal Caribbean's cruise management – will create the foundation for a successful, long-term strategic partnership."

The joint venture is expected to be completed later this year, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. It is expected to result in an immaterial one-time gain, which will be excluded from RCL's key metrics. Given the markets in which Pullmantur operates, the transaction is expected to have partially offsetting impacts on yields and expenses. The amount of these impacts will depend on when regulatory approvals are received and the transaction closes, but the net effect on the company's 2016 bottom line is expected to be neutral to marginally positive.

New Carnival Vista Offers Huge Array Of Features And New Activities
The stunning new Carnival Vista, currently on its maiden voyage, features an unparalleled array of entertainment and adrenaline-inducing thrill experiences, including the cruise industry's first IMAX Theatre at sea, SkyRide, an open-air cycling experience suspended high above the ship's top deck, as well as a multi-sensory, 455-foot-long water tube slide called Kaleid-O-Slide. Additionally, spectacular new Playlist Productions shows and a number of exciting new activities are being introduced to provide an unprecedented variety of entertainment choices.

Carnival Vista also features a suspended 270-foot-long ropes course, an exhilarating, high speed Twister slide, an aqua spray park with a 300-gallon tipping bucket and a huge array of other outdoor and indoor entertainment options.

A guest prepares for an exhilarating ride down the Kaleid-O-Slide, a 455-foot-long tube slide on the new Carnival Vista Carnival is also introducing several new activities including the South Beach-inspired Serenity Nights, a Rock-N-Glow 80s Deck Party and an Island Deck Party as well as a murder mystery experience.

Entertainment offerings also include popular comedians at the Punchliner Comedy Club, family-favorite Hasbro, The Game Show, which is a live action game show incorporating popular Hasbro games, and Thrill Theater, among others.

"Carnival Vista is an absolute 'wow' in every respect and we have put together a line-up of entertainment, activities and experiences like nothing else at sea," said Sarah Beth Reno, vice president of entertainment for Carnival Cruise Line. "Our guests are going to love this ship and their biggest challenge will be trying to choose from among so many different things to do on board."

Carnival Vista houses the first IMAX Theatre at sea including a three-deck-high screen that offers an immersive cinema experience featuring the latest Hollywood blockbusters, family favorites and IMAX documentary content.

The 187-seat IMAX Theatre is part of the Carnival Multiplex, which also includes the Thrill Theater, a multi-dimensional experience where seats move back and forth and side to side and viewers are sprayed with water and bubbles to make them feel like they're part of the feature. Only available on Carnival Vista is Thrillogy, a scary-yet-fun multi-sensory horror movie experience within the Thrill Theater that is designed for guests 17 and older.

The cost for first-run movies in the IMAX Theatre is $12.95 for adults and $9.95 for children 12 and under and guests aged 55 and over. The cost for IMAX documentaries and Thrill Theater is $5.50 per person.

Carnival Vista will debut three new high-tech Playlist Productions shows that combine captivating live performances with spectacular LED staging and special effects to create evenings of unforgettable entertainment. The three shows include:

• Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance, an exhilarating get-on-your-feet show that blends classic Latin songs with today's hits and features an authentic reproduction of Carnival Vista's Havana Bar. A seven-piece Cuban-inspired band performs songs by Gloria Estefan, Celia Cruz and others amid a tropics-inspired backdrop of Cuba and Miami, the latter of which will be the ship's eventual year-round homeport.
• America Rocks!, a high-energy show featuring rock anthems by American artists like Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith, Styx and Kiss. The glow stick-waving audience cheers on a rockin' house band with sizzling guitars, pulsating drums and a horn section, evoking the feeling of classic rock concerts from bygone days.
• Flick: The Power of Motion Pictures, a celebration of filmmaking with some of the greatest anthems of all time showcasing songs from popular movies like Footloose, Dirty Dancing and others. The main character of the show, Flick, takes viewers on a magical journey through different genres of film with stunning theatrical illusions and show-stopping cinematic effects.

All three shows feature high-energy after parties in Carnival Vista's atrium, Havana Bar and other spaces where guests can dance and interact with the stars following the show.

A roster of popular comedians perform at the 385-seat Punchliner Comedy Club which offers family-friendly and adults-only shows and guests are the stars of Hasbro, The Game Show, which features larger-than-life adaptations of iconic Hasbro games.

At night, the ship's outdoor adults-only retreat is transformed into a South Beach-style club under the stars complete with spectacular lighting effects and a crowd-pleasing mix of popular music spun by one of Carnival's professionally-trained DJ's.

Already known for hosting the best deck parties at sea, the cruise line takes it to another level on Carnival Vista with the Rock-N-Glow 80s Deck Party where participants don day-glo and other attire from the 80s and dance the night away. A new Island Deck Party celebrates the fun and spirit of RedFrog and BlueIguana – the colorful namesake characters of Carnival Vista's poolside watering holes. In early summer, the Clue murder mystery experience will debut, as well.

Carnival Vista takes cruising to new heights – literally – with SkyRide, a first-of-its-kind aerial attraction where adventure seekers pedal hanging recumbent-like cycles at speeds of up to 18 miles an hour across an elevated 800-foot-long track. The ship also features Kaleid-O-Slide, a new inner-tube slide where riders zip down 455 feet of exhilarating corkscrew turns enhanced by music and stunning kaleidoscopic effects.

Carnival Vista debuted in Europe May 1, 2016, and will operate a summer schedule of Mediterranean cruises through October. Following a trans-Atlantic crossing, Carnival Vista will offer a pair of 11-day voyages from New York in November 2016 before repositioning to Miami for year-round Caribbean sailings later that month.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 49.75 + 0.44%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 75.73 - 3.80%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.46 - 1.99
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 49.25 - 1.16%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which popular French liner of the 1950's started her career crossing the Atlantic for North German Lloyd Line?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Today there is only one ocean-going vessel in the world that still carries the venerable title of Royal Mail Ship (RMS). In the past this title was held by many famous British passenger liners including Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary. Name this ship that is still operating today and the remote island she frequents.

Answer - The only ocean going vessel that still carries the RMS prefix is "RMS St. Helena". Commonly referred to simply as "The RMS", she travels regularly between the UK, the South Atlantic island of St. Helena and Cape Town. Once a year she also makes a call at the isolated island of Tristan da Cunha. At Approximately 6800 gross tons in size, she can carry up to 128 passengers.

Built specifically for the St. Helena trade, she is the second ship to bear the name and replaced the original RMS St. Helena (ex- Northland Prince) in the early 1990's. The former RMS had been pressed into service after the withdrawl of the Union Castle mail ships in 1977 had left the island of St. Helena isolated.
courtesy of Brian O'Leary, Pointe-Claire QC Canada

Cruise News - May 2, 2016

Fathom's MV Adonia Arrives in Havana to Complete Historic Voyage from U.S. to Cuba
Fathom's MV Adonia sailed into Havana this morning completing the first leg of its historic inaugural voyage to Cuba that began on May 1, 2016, from Miami. The arrival made history today with its arrival into Havana, marking the first time in over 50 years that a U.S. cruise line has sailed from the U.S. to Cuba. It is also the first time in decades that Cuban-born individuals have been able to travel by sea to or from Cuba.

Fathom's MV Adonia Arrives in Havana to Complete Historic Voyage from U.S. to CubaFathom travelers were greeted by fanfare and a festive celebration as they arrived in the Port of Havana, the first of three destinations that guests will visit as part of the brand's exclusive seven-night voyages to Cuba. Following this week's inaugural trip to Cuba, Fathom's 704-passenger Adonia luxury cruise ship will begin operating its weeklong itineraries to Cuba every other week.

"Our arrival today in Havana is a special moment in history that contributes to a more positive future, and we congratulate our colleague Arnie Perez on being the first person born in Cuba to step ashore under Cuba's new policy," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "We are so honored that Carnival Corporation and our Fathom brand can be part of such a meaningful milestone. As we worked to become the first U.S. cruise company to sail from the U.S. to Cuba in more than five decades, it was clear just how much interest there is from travelers who want to experience Cuba. We believe there is no better way to experience Cuba and see this beautiful island than to cruise with us on Fathom, and we look forward to providing a very special and rewarding experience to everyone who sails with us."

"We are extremely excited and very humbled by this historic opportunity to give Fathom travelers an exclusive chance to experience Cuba, which is a unique destination unlike anywhere else in the world," said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation.

Russell added: "Our guests are now able to visit three beautiful destinations on the island all in one week, with the convenience of only having to unpack once while we sail on the Fathom Adonia, our premium small ship with its excellent and diverse dining, service and accommodations. Cuba is a beautiful island with great people and a rich history and culture, and we are so excited we are the first U.S. cruise line that will be giving travelers the opportunity to enjoy Cuba with all the comforts and convenience of being on board our ship. We look forward to making sure our guests have an extraordinary experience."

During each sailing, Fathom will visit Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, three ports of call for which Carnival Corporation has obtained berthing approval.

As part of this historic sailing in this inaugural year, travelers will enjoy an exciting Cuban experience and will sail aboard Adonia, a premium small ship where they can choose to partake in onboard experiences, including Cuban- and Caribbean-inspired food and films, music and dancing, and much more.

Special onboard programming will include a wide variety of activities covering an array of interests, ranging from an orientation of Cuba's history, customs and culture, to geographic-inspired entertainment, to casual and fun personal enrichment activities, along with conversational Spanish lessons.

Seven-day itineraries on Carnival Corporation's Fathom brand will generally depart from PortMiami on Sundays at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). The ship will arrive at its first destination, Havana, the following morning (Monday) at 11 a.m. ET. The Adonia returns to its homeport, PortMiami, at 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday. news_cc_vista.jpg

Carnival Cruise Line Takes Delivery Of New 133,500-Ton Carnival Vista
At a traditional maritime handover ceremony held earlier today at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, Carnival Cruise Line took delivery of its newest, largest and most innovative ship, the 133,500-ton Carnival Vista.

Carnival Cruise Line Takes Delivery Of New 133,500-Ton Carnival VistaThe 3,954-passenger ship will reposition to Trieste, Italy, where it will depart on its maiden voyage May 1, kicking off a summer schedule in Europe that runs through October 2016. Following a 13-day trans-Atlantic crossing, Carnival Vista will operate a pair of 11-day cruises from New York in November 2016 then launch year-round Caribbean service from Miami later that month.

Carnival Vista offers a number of unique features, including a groundbreaking suspended cycling experience called SkyRide, the first IMAX Theatre at sea and the RedFrog Pub & Brewery offering three different kinds of beer brewed on board.

Also new is Family Harbor with special family accommodations and a family concierge, along with the tropics-inspired Havana staterooms and suites featuring a dedicated pool area. The ship's outdoor spaces include a massive WaterWorks aqua park, highlighted by the 455-foot-long Kaleid-o-slide, the longest slide in the fleet.

"Carnival Vista is a spectacular addition to our fleet and we can't wait for our guests to experience all of the ship's exciting new features," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Carnival Vista will provide our guests an opportunity to create a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories while offering our valued travel agent partners another exciting vacation option to market to their clients," she added.

Princess Cruises Unveils New Club Class Mini-Suite Stateroom Category
Princess Cruises' guests can choose a new premium stateroom category featuring VIP amenities and exclusive dining with the new Club Class Mini-Suite. This elevated mini-suite category features select perks including new Club Class Dining, a reserved dining area with expedited seating and expanded menu options; priority embarkation and disembarkation; and Club Class guests will be among the first to sleep on the new Princess Luxury Bed.

Princess Cruises Unveils New Club Class Mini-Suite Stateroom CategoryDebuting on select ships beginning in December 2016, Club Class Mini-Suites will roll out through the fall of 2017 in association with the cruise line's "Come Back New Promise," which is delivering guests a premium cruise vacation enhanced by innovative and desirable product enhancements.

"Club Class Mini-Suites provide Princess guests yet another elevated product enhancement to enjoy during their cruise vacation," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "The VIP perks, including the new Club Class Dining, offers a premium and memorable onboard experience so our guests can completely relax, unwind and immerse themselves in worldwide destinations and ultimately 'come back new.'"

Club Class Dining - Offering guests more convenience and tempting fares, Club Class Dining includes:

• Dedicated area of the Main Dining Room with expedited seating
• Dedicated wait staff and uniquely-styled table décor
• Exclusive menu options with daily chef's special and table-side preparations
• Open every evening for dinner and for breakfast and lunch on sea days

Upgraded Amenities & Services - Club Class Mini-Suite guests will also enjoy the following additional VIP perks:

• The Princess Luxury Bed – Club Class guests will be among the first to experience the "Ultimate Sleep at Sea," in the new bed designed in collaboration with board certified sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus and renowned HGTV Designer Candice Olson
• Priority check-in and boarding at the beginning of the cruise and priority disembarkation at the end of the cruise
• One-time complimentary wine set-up on embarkation day (1/2 bottle of red and white)
• Evening canapés (upon request)
• Luxurious terry shawl bathrobes

Full Suite guests will also enjoy all the benefits of Club Class Mini-Suites including Club Class Dining, and be among the first to experience the new Princess Luxury Bed, in addition to the many other amenities offered with a Full Suite. In addition to Club Class Dining and upgraded amenities and services, Club Class Mini-Suites include all of the standard mini-suite benefits featuring spacious staterooms, up to 323 square feet with balcony, separate seating area with sofa bed and coffee table, bathroom with combination tub and shower and a welcome glass of champagne, among others.

World's Best Cruise Destinations?
Cruise ship captains travel the world, from sea to shining sea. So asking which is their favorite destination is like asking an artist to name a favorite creation or asking a parent to name a favorite child.

Still, ship masters repeatedly visit ports of call, becoming familiar with not only the local waters but also with spectacular sights that can be seen from the ship as well as the culture and lifestyles they and their passengers experience on land.

With that in mind, here are 10 Captains' Favorite cruise destinations.

French Polynesia
Captain Mariano Manfuso, Island Princess, Princess Cruises

"If I close my eyes, I can still remember the extraordinary sunsets of French Polynesia. Visiting these islands is a unique experience. The lure is not only the friendly Polynesian people but also the atmosphere, from the warmth of the air scented with tropical flowers to the romantic sunsets that indicate the end of another extraordinary day in these marvelous islands."

Captain's tip: "Bora Bora is the perfect place for diving and water safaris, an enchanting geological phenomenon."

Sydney, Australia
Captain Dino Sagani, Golden Princess, Princess Cruises

"The way from the sea into Sydney Harbour is second to none – the white surf breaking onto the rocky Heads that mark the entrance, a natural welcome to the beautiful waters. When making the final approach to the Overseas Passenger Terminal, the beautiful Sydney Opera House on the Port Side and the majestic Harbour Bridge on the Starboard Side, it is just the perfect place. You dock in the middle of these two iconic monuments of such an amazing city."

Captain's tip: "It's an easy 15-minute walk east of the terminal to the quiet glory of the Royal Botanic Gardens."

Captain Hans Mateboer, Rotterdam, Holland America Line

"When I first went to sea, I sailed for one of those old and famous shipping lines on a regular run to Indonesia and other places in the Far East. I find myself now on the Rotterdam, after 30 years, going back to the same places. Much has changed but also a lot has stayed the same. Indonesia is a country which has a special place in my heart."

Captain's tip: "An unexplainable adventure there is the sunset. Seeing this huge warmth-generating star touch the horizon and seemingly stay there for a while, then disappear too soon, is a wonder that is unbelievably grand in its simplicity."

Fort de France, Martinique
Captain Ignazio Giardina, Costa Favolosa, Costa Cruises

"Cruising in the Caribbean, Fort de France in Martinique is my favorite port, a relaxed and friendly place where you can experience the kindness and culture of the Creole people in a gorgeous and natural setting. The climate, food and the zouk (folk music) are all amazing."

Captain's tip: "There are many opportunities for water sports. I've personally enjoyed the ship's excursions for snorkeling, diving, sailing and fishing – all delightful."

Manaus, Brazil
Captain David Pembridge, Britannia, P&O Cruises UK

"Requiring a passage of some 800 miles up the Amazon River, reaching Manaus is an adventure in itself. The ship transits mysterious channels, passes islands that move and crosses areas that are actually shown as land on navigational charts, which takes some getting used to if you've spent your life avoiding charted land. There are villages where the local population is more interested and entertained by you than you are with them. And then you arrive at this bustling city of 2 million in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest."

Captain's tip: "Dressing in formal attire and attending a champagne reception and performance at the historic Opera House in this remote city is an amazing and memorable experience."

Panama Canal
Captain Peter Philpott, Aurora, P&O Cruises, UK

Cruise ship captains and their guests get a front row seat to amazing destinations including the Panama Canal"The Panama Canal resonates with me for the fact it was constructed in the first years of the 20th century, and completed in 1914, yet today's larger ships can still pass through the famous locks. When we sail through the steep-sided Gaillard Cut section of the canal, one cannot but think with awe of the vast numbers of canal construction workers who lost their lives in the jungle in order to complete this Wonder of the World, connecting two oceans, which forever changed the face of the shipping industry."

Captain's tip: "Plan to spend time observing during the 10-hour passage as your ship is raised and lowered. You'll at times be just inches from the canal's side, the green jungle beyond."

Grand Turk
Captain Claudio Cupisti, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Cruise Line

"Try to imagine an intimate, authentic Caribbean island, with a small and colorful downtown and a laidback but welcoming atmosphere. Try to envision perfect crystal clear water and white sand beaches just a step away from the ship. This is an island where I de-stress and get in touch with my true soul."

Captain's tip: "There adventures including scuba diving (my favorite activity), helicopter and boat rides and swimming with sharks. You can also just relax on the beach by walking away from the pier area and following the coastline in any direction."

Hamburg, Germany
Captain Nico Berg, AIDAStella, Germany's AIDA Cruises

"There's nothing nicer than traveling up the Elbe in the morning and entering Hamburg Port. In summer months, when the ship is just in front of the curve of the harbor piers (Landungsbrücken), the sun usually rises behind historic Hamburg Michel (church) and the view is just amazing. Although I'm at home all over the world as a seafarer, Hamburg always gives me a feeling of coming home. When our ship leaves Hamburg Port, tourists stand along the Elbe and excitedly wave at us."

Captain's tip: "I would recommend taking a small barge through the Speicherstadt (the historic canals of the largest warehouse district in the world)."

Brisbane, Australia
Captain Colm Ryan, Pacific Aria, P&O Cruises Australia "When we arrive here it is an early morning for me, as I have to attend to navigation through Moreton Bay before reaching the Brisbane River. There is not much that beats this transit. It is usually quiet as not many boaters are out at that time of the morning. In the summer as the sun rises, it highlights the skyscrapers of the city, seemingly announcing that you are entering and welcome to a modern and vibrant Brisbane."

Captain's tip: "Brisbane is easy to walk around with many areas dedicated to pedestrians and particularly friendly locals. You'll find a wealth of restaurants and nightlife on the South Bank of the Brisbane River."

New York
Captain Marc-Dominique Tidow, AIDALuna, AIDA Cruises

"Arriving in New York with the ship early in the morning will never become routine for me. As we approach our destination, still relatively far out at sea, our ship passes Long Island. It's still dark when we pass the second highlight, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the huge bridge connecting Brooklyn and Staten Island. Then we pass the Statue of Liberty on our way into the harbor. But most beautiful of all is when you pass the Hudson side of New York, with the sun rising behind the city. From the height of the ship you can look down into the individual streets of New York."

Captain's tip: "Be up at 5 a.m., standing on the railing with a cup of coffee and watch as the ship approaches Manhattan. It's something everyone needs to experience for themselves."

Viking Announces World Cruise For Fourth Ship
With just days before its second ship, Viking Sea, is christened in Greenwich on the Thames River in London on May 5, Viking Ocean Cruises today announced that its fourth ship, Viking Sun, will spend her maiden season sailing the company's first-ever World Cruise, spanning 141 days and visiting five continents, 35 countries and 66 ports, with 12 port overnights.

Departing on December 15, 2017, this epic journey from Miami to London will allow guests to explore Cuba and the Caribbean; sail the Panama Canal and the South Pacific; call upon ports in Asia, from Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City; and see the Arabian, Red and Mediterranean Seas, before concluding in the North Atlantic. Like on all Viking itineraries, World Cruise guests will enjoy a complimentary shore excursion in each of the 66 ports and free unlimited Wi-Fi; they will also receive Business Class airfare and all gratuities and service fees, along with an extensive list of added-value inclusions in their cruise fare.

Viking Announces World Cruise For Fourth Ship"Ever since our first ship set sail last year, we have been focused on bringing the destination back to ocean cruising. Our unique, award-winning approach allows our guests to explore comfortably, with experiences that enrich their lives along the way," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "This World Cruise is the most extensive and culturally immersive itinerary we have ever offered, and we are pleased by the early interest in pre-sales we have seen from our guests and industry partners."

Viking's first-ever World Cruise visits dozens of legendary cities, charming ports and idyllic islands in one seamless itinerary. Guests will immerse themselves in the world's rich cultures during included excursions that provide unmatched insight into daily life, as well as Privileged Access visits to cultural institutions. Overnight stays in 12 cities allow World Cruise guests to delve deeper into the destination; and Viking's Culture Curriculum offers additional enrichment through onboard lectures and entertainment. Guests may choose the 141-day cruise from Miami to London, which includes 21 days of sailing from Miami to Los Angeles; or they may also choose to cruise from Los Angeles to London, a 120-day itinerary. Full details on the World Cruise can be found on Viking's website here; highlights include:

• Havana's Authentic Old Town—Guests will spend two days in Havana, engaging in authentic experiences with the Cuban people – from hearing a local jazz ensemble to visiting an artist's studio – and exploring the city's neoclassical, baroque and colonial architecture.
• The Path Between the Seas—Forty-eight miles long, the Panama Canal links the Atlantic and Pacific at the narrowest stretch of the Isthmus of Panama, cutting thousands of miles off shipping routes. Crossing this manmade wonder, Viking Sea will be raised and lowered through enormous locks at each end.
• Papeete, Tahiti: Gaugin's Paradise—One of the world's most visually stunning and romantic destinations, Tahiti is the cultural hub of French Polynesia. Guests will enjoy an overnight stay in Papeete, letting them immerse themselves in its continental flavor.
• Auckland, City of Two Harbors—During an overnight stay in New Zealand's "City of Sails," guests will have ample time to take in Auckland's stunning setting between two harbors.
• Shanghai, Astonishing Blend of Old and New—One of the world's most important ports, Shanghai is a modern metropolis and center of finance. An overnight stay allows time for guests to explore its famous and historic Bund, the elegant riverfront promenade, or stroll the inviting grounds of the dynastic Yuyuan Garden.
• Sydney: Cultural Capital of "Oz"—Guests will have the opportunity to sail into Sydney's magnificent harbor, the world's largest, and an overnight stay gives the opportunity to admire the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanic Gardens and The Rocks district of shops and markets.
• Bangkok, Siam of Old—From Viking's overnight port in Laem Chabang, guests will have ample time to discover Bangkok's revered temples (or wats) and traditional floating markets, as well as to tour the elegant buildings of the renowned Grand Palace, long home to the kings of Siam.
• Singapore, Bustling Island Nation—Spread across 63 islands at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore is the world's only island city-state. An overnight stay here allows guests to take in its sophisticated wonders, including the stunning National Orchid Garden.
• Medieval Malta—Long a crossroads for trade between Africa and Europe, the island of Malta has been shaped by generations of rich history and influence. Guests can take in the medieval ambience of Valletta and Mdina and enjoy the stunning coast that is dotted with iuzzu fishing boats, blue grottoes and sweeping bays.
• Greenwich: London at your Door—The celebrated historic Royal Borough of Greenwich, on the Thames River, is Viking's docking location in London, providing guests with easy access to the regal capital's iconic sights, including Parliament and Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and St. Paul's Cathedral.

Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, boast 465 cabins and accommodate 930 passengers. Viking Sun will be the company's fourth ship in the fleet and will be delivered in late 2017; the two remaining yet-to-be-named ships will be delivered in 2018 and 2020, respectively.

ms Nieuw Amsterdam Kicks Off Seattle's Alaska Cruise Season
Holland America Line's ms Nieuw Amsterdam arrived at the Port of Seattle today, Friday, April 29, 2016, marking the start of the city's summer Alaska homeport cruise season. The line increased its Seattle calls this year to 55, and three Holland America Line ships will sail roundtrip Seattle routes in 2016: ms Westerdam arrives Saturday, May 7; ms Amsterdam arrives Sunday, May 22; and ms Maasdam arrives Monday, May 23, to begin their Alaska sailings from Seattle. New to Alaska cruising, Nieuw Amsterdam's arrival at Seattle is the start of a one-day cruise to Vancouver, British Columbia, to reposition to its summer homeport.

ms Nieuw Amsterdam Kicks Off Seattle's Alaska Cruise Season In addition to the 48 roundtrip Seattle cruises to Alaska this season, three cruises to Australia/New Zealand or Hawaii/South Pacific will begin or end at Seattle, including Amsterdam's 53-day Tales of the South Pacific voyage and Maasdam's 23-day South Pacific Crossing. All of the options combined make a total of 55 calls by five ships -- ms Zaandam makes one Seattle call -- that will welcome more than 86,000 guests to Seattle.

"As Seattle's hometown cruise line it's fitting that one of our ships is kicking off the city's Alaska season, a time we eagerly anticipate each year," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "Holland America Line is headquartered in Seattle, and we take great pride in being a significant contributor to the local economy and in actively giving back to our community."

In the coming year, Holland America Line expects to contribute $389 million to the Seattle economy and $547 million across Washington State. The cruise line employs 1,170 people at its Elliott Avenue headquarters in Seattle.

Provisioning costs each time a ship calls at Seattle average about $300,000 per visit. Holland America Line works with more than 600 Washington vendors, from food and beverage suppliers to piano tuners, office supply stores and marine suppliers, among many more. For example, Westerdam requires over 23,000 eggs and 1,375 gallons of milk each week -- all of which come from local farmers. In addition, local growers supply 147,550 pounds of fresh produce a week.

Also contributing to Holland America Line's economic impact is spending by passengers and crew in local shops, restaurants, bars, hotels, museums, attractions and taxis. Other expenditures include ship maintenance and port fees, charges and taxes.

Holland America Line ships have been sailing from the Port of Seattle since the 1970s. In May 2002, Holland America Line began using Seattle as a home port for Alaska cruises.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 49.53 + 0.59%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 78.72 + 4.96%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.51 - 4.56
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 48.93 + 1.05%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Today there is only one ocean-going vessel in the world that still carries the venerable title of Royal Mail Ship (RMS). In the past this title was held by many famous British passenger liners including Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary. Name this ship that is still operating today and the remote island she frequents.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which current cruise line established its own training school for on board crew in Bintang, Indonesia in 1969?

Answer - Holland America Line established a crew training facility in Indonesia
courtesy of Peter Drinan, Australia

Cruise News - April 25, 2016

Fathom's MV Adonia to Sail to Cuba with All Travelers, Including Cuban-Born Passengers
Carnival Corporation today announced it will sail as planned from the U.S. to Cuba with all travelers, including Cuba-born passengers, for the company's week-long voyages to Cuba. Carnival Corporation worked closely with Cuba to allow its cruise ships to operate in a similar manner as current air charter operations to Cuba, starting with its historic inaugural voyage on May 1, 2016.

Carnival Corp. Now Accepting Bookings for Cuba Voyages on Its Fathom BrandFathom will begin sailing its 704-passenger Adonia luxury cruise ship to Cuba every otherLast week, in anticipation of this positive outcome, Carnival Corporation announced its new Fathom brand was accepting bookings to Cuba from all travelers, including individuals born in Cuba. Fathom's 704-passenger Adonia luxury cruise ship will begin sailing to Cuba every other week, marking the first time in over 50 years that a cruise ship has been able to sail from the U.S. to Cuba, as well as the first time in decades that Cuban-born individuals will be able to sail to and from Cuba.

"We made history in March, and we are a part of making history again today," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "More importantly, we are contributing to a positive future. This is a positive outcome and we are extremely pleased. We want to extend our sincere appreciation to Cuba and to our team who worked so hard to help make this happen."

"We have already seen tremendous interest in the incredible Cuba journey we have put together, and we are ecstatic that this historic opportunity is open to everyone who wants to travel to Cuba," said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation.

Russell added: "Our guests will visit three beautiful and unique destinations on the island all in one week, with the convenience of only having to unpack once while we sail on the Fathom Adonia, our premium small ship with its excellent and diverse dining, service and accommodations. We are looking forward to treating Fathom travelers to an unforgettable experience."

Carnival Corporation's Fathom brand and its voyages to three ports of call in Cuba

During each sailing, Fathom will visit Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, three ports of call for which Carnival Corporation has obtained berthing approval.

As part of this historic sailing in this inaugural year, travelers will enjoy an exciting Cuban experience and will sail aboard the Adonia, where they can choose to partake in onboard experiences, including Cuban- and Caribbean-inspired food and films, music and dancing, and much more.

Special onboard programming will include a wide variety of activities covering an array of interests, ranging from an orientation of Cuba's history, customs and culture, to geographic-inspired entertainment, to casual and fun personal enrichment activities, along with conversational Spanish lessons.

Seven-day itineraries on Carnival Corporation's Fathom brand depart from PortMiami on Sundays at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). The ship will arrive at its first destination, Havana, the following morning (Monday) at 11 a.m. ET. The Adonia returns to its homeport, PortMiami, at 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.

Historic Queen Mary In Long Beach, California Gears Up For Transformation Of A Lifetime
A new future is about to be written for the iconic Queen Mary docked in the Long Beach Harbor. City officials announced today that the master lease for the retired cruise ship and ever-popular tourist attraction has been formally transferred to Los Angeles-based real estate investment and development firm Urban Commons. Assuming a 66-year master lease of the ship, Urban Commons will create a bustling retail, dining and entertainment district surrounding the Queen Mary for locals and tourists alike, while infusing contemporary influences onboard the ship to return the Queen to her glory days.

Historic Queen Mary In Long Beach, California Gears Up For Transformation Of A Lifetime "The debut of the new Queen Mary will bring to life an energetic destination that draws visitors in from near and far, rivaling major attractions in premier cities around the globe," said Taylor Woods, Principal of Urban Commons. "We see this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to help shape the future of a storied landmark, and Urban Commons is honored to have a hand in this transformation."

Urban Commons will implement a phased approach to their all-encompassing renovation over the next several years, with upgrades within the ship beginning immediately. Modern details with a nod to the past will be infused throughout the interior of the ship from guestrooms to restaurant spaces, ultimately channeling a new aura of regal elegance while maintaining the ship's cherished historic elements. The Queen Mary is slated to debut her enhancements to the public in mid-2017, and will remain fully open to visitors and hotel guests during the renovation process. Within the second phase, a must-visit mix of retail, dining and entertainment options will take shape on the 45 acres of currently underutilized oceanfront land adjacent to the ship.

"The Urban Commons team has demonstrated true commitment and a real passion for breathing new life into this iconic landmark, which will highlight Long Beach as a premier destination on the West Coast," said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. "From the expansion of the Aquarium to the multimillion dollar investment in the Queen Mary, Long Beach is experiencing a true renaissance, and we are proud to have Urban Commons in our corner."

"Now is an opportune time for us to move forward with an extensive plan to reinvigorate the underutilized Queen Mary site, and to create something truly unique with the Urban Commons team," said Long Beach Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal. "We are thrilled to have Urban Commons onboard as a collaborative partner to initiate improvements that will bring even more value to a one-of-a-kind landmark in the heart of our City."

Urban Commons will work in tandem with the City of Long Beach, the Queen Mary Land Development Task Force and the wider community on the review and approval process for the build out of the 45 acres surrounding the ship. Further details about the plans for the Queen Mary and adjacent land will be shared as they become available.

The master lease was previously held by Garrison Investment Group, LLC. In full recognition of the Queen Mary's successful evolution over the past several years, Urban Commons intends to continue the ship's wildly popular Dark Harbor and CHILL events held annually and will work closely with Carnival Cruise Line to enhance the existing terminal.

Fathom Makes Inaugural Voyage to Dominican Republic
Fathom, the pioneer in social impact travel and Carnival Corporation's 10th and newest brand, returned from its inaugural voyage to its impact destination, the Dominican Republic, on Sunday, April 24. Fathom's inaugural voyage was a major success as hundreds of guests joined Fathom for a unique weeklong journey that left a lasting impact on each of them, as well as an immediate impact on people in need in the Dominican Republic.

Poured concrete floors for two homes directly positively effecting 20 people"Feedback from our guests during the voyage was extremely positive," said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation. "This first voyage provided more evidence there is a growing market of guests who want to make a positive, direct impact when traveling. Fathom gave our guests a unique way to leave an impression on a very personal level within the community, as well as have an extraordinarily rewarding experience."

Launched in June 2015, Fathom provides the opportunity to travel with like-minded people, become immersed in another culture and work alongside its people to create enduring social impact. What sets Fathom apart is the long-term, systematic partnership approach and unique business model of traveling every other week to the Dominican Republic – a combination that creates sustained and lasting impact.

"Our brand has been on an incredible journey, from the idea's conception over two years ago through today," said Russell. "We set out to do something special with Fathom by introducing the world to a unique type of travel – travel with purpose. I want to personally thank everyone who stood alongside Fathom, and had a hand in getting us to where we are today. Without your support, we would not be where we are today."

Fathom selected the Dominican Republic as its first impact destination, as it is a country of great beauty and rich culture but also a country with great needs. The average household income is less than $6,000 and more than 3 million Dominicans do not have access to piped water. Yet the country has much potential – its natural resources are plentiful, it has a good infrastructure that can allow for positive impact, and its people are motivated to create better lives for them and their families.

Impact activities in the Dominican Republic include a wide range of projects focused on economic development, education and the environment. During the inaugural voyage, guests, depending on their individual passions and skills, participated in projects they felt most strongly about, and worked directly alongside local people and Fathom's partner organizations.

"We have already accomplished a lot in a short period of time – but there is still much to do," added Russell. "While we celebrated and introduced the unique Fathom experience to our guests last week, we are looking forward to taking our guests every other week to the Dominican to continue making a profound and lasting impact for people in the country."

When not participating in social impact projects, Fathom guests experienced fun and memorable recreational, leisure and sightseeing activities in the Dominican Republic. Whether exploring ancient ruins, interacting with the abundant marine life in the clear water, or lounging along the sun-soaked stretches of surf and sand, guests made the most of their experiences in the Dominican Republic.

The MV Adonia docked at Carnival Corporation's newest port Amber Cove, located in the Puerto Plata region, where guests had access to select shore excursions. The port offers numerous sea and landside experiences, including several beach getaways, kayak, paddle board and snorkeling tours, ATV-like terracross buggy expeditions, Puerto Plata tours, helicopter rides, fishing trips, horseback riding, deep sea fishing tours and catamaran sailings.

Guests discovered that impact travel is far more than a seven-day experience. On the return trip, Fathom helped guests with ways they can stay involved by bringing the knowledge, inspiration and insight back to their home communities.

Port Canaveral Welcomes Carnival Magic
Carnival Cruise Line and the Canaveral Port Authority hosted a special event earlier today to celebrate the arrival of the Space Coast’s newest ship, the 130,000-ton Carnival Magic, and mark the official grand opening of the ship’s new Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse designed by Food Network star Guy Fieri.

The event was highlighted by the carving of a massive, six-foot-long pulled pork sandwich by officials from Carnival and the port to commemorate the debut of Fieri’s new BBQ venueThe invitation-only event was highlighted by the carving of a massive, six-foot-long pulled pork sandwich by officials from Carnival and the port to commemorate the debut of Fieri’s new BBQ venue which was installed during a multi-million-dollar dry dock last month.

The event also included a traditional maritime plaque exchange between Carnival Magic Captain Antonio Marchetti, Carnival’s Vice President of Commercial Port Operations Carlos Torres de Navarra and Captain John Murray, chief executive officer of the Canaveral Port Authority and the port’s board of directors.

Carnival Magic is the newest Carnival ship to sail from Port Canaveral, joining Carnival Victory and Carnival Valor on year-round departures from the Space Coast, as well as the Carnival Sunshine which operates seasonal sailings. Together, these four ships will carry more than 650,000 guests annually from Port Canaveral – more than any other cruise operator. Carnival operates more than 200 three- to eight-day cruises annually from Port Canaveral, providing the widest variety of year-round cruise choices from the Space Coast. “Port Canaveral is one of our most popular and fastest-growing homeports and we now have four exceptional ships based there offering our most highly-rated guest features, a huge array of staterooms and suites with private balconies and a wide variety of itinerary choices,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

“This year marks the 26th year that Carnival has homeported a ship at Port Canaveral, the longest of any other cruise line,” Murray said. “We are proud to be one of Carnival’s most popular home ports serving their guests from our easy cruise gateway in Central Florida.”

The new Fieri-designed BBQ venue was among the many new features added during an extensive makeover that also incorporated the new cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, the RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery and Guy’s Burger Joint, also designed by Fieri.

Carnival Magic offers a variety of family-friendly features as well, including a WaterWorks aqua park highlighted by a 312-foot-long Twister slide, fun, supervised activities and play areas for kids in three age groups, and the Seuss at Sea program which includes the ever-popular Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in The Hat and Friends and the Seuss-a-Palooza Story Time and Parade.

Carnival Magic will depart this afternoon on its inaugural cruise from Port Canaveral with a three-day voyage to Nassau and will launch year-round seven-day sailings from the Space Coast April 23, 2016. Carnival Magic will offer two distinctly different week-long itineraries from Port Canaveral – a western Caribbean route featuring Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Costa Maya; and an eastern Caribbean option calling at St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk and Nassau or Amber Cove.

New Culinary Experiences to Debut on Cunard's Queen Mary 2
Already renowned and acclaimed for creating some of the finest cuisine served in the most glamourous surroundings at sea, Cunard is proud to introduce new dining options as well as a host of enhancements to each of the liner's existing restaurants during Queen Mary 2's major refit taking place in June.

New Culinary Experiences to Debut on Cunard's Queen Mary 2Queen Mary 2 Remastered will see the creation of the entirely new Carinthia Lounge that will serve alternative breakfast and lunchtime offerings together with bespoke premium coffees; the addition of The Verandah restaurant evoking memories of the famous Grill on the original Queen Mary; a completely transformed Kings Court Buffet; new Queens and Princess Grill menus and completely refurbished restaurants for guests staying in the suites and a new Smokehouse alternative dining concept.

In addition, menus in the existing Britannia Restaurant and Golden Lion pub, together with Cunard's famous Afternoon Tea selection served in the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar, will all be refreshed.

Many of the new menus are being created and tested at a specially-commissioned new Development Kitchen which has opened in Cunard's homeport of Southampton. Here, teams of chefs have been working with other culinary experts and suppliers to create a wide range of new dishes to be served on board.

"At Cunard, we pride ourselves in delivering a culinary experience that continuously exceeds guest expectations and illustrates Cunard's utmost attention to detail," said Richard Meadows, president, Cunard North America. "We are pleased to debut refreshed culinary offerings on Queen Mary 2 Remastered, which we have created to appeal to the most discerning guests while revitalizing classic dishes and creating new ones."

Examples of Queen Mary 2's new menus, together with images of some of the new dishes to be served on board, can be downloaded here.

New menu items in The Verandah on board Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth will be introduced through 2016.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 49.24/FONT> - 3.15%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 75.00 - 5.52%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.63 - 4.36
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 49.31 - 5.43%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which current cruise line established its own training school for on board crew in Bintang, Indonesia in 1969?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Many people know that Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 and P&O's Canberra served as troop ships during the Falkland islands conflict in 1982, but can you name the other former liner that was also pressed into service during the conflict?

Answer - It was Uganda from British India Line, part of the P&O group
courtesy of ourtesy of liberte50 at t-online.de

Cruise News - April 18, 2016

Carnival Corp. Now Accepting Bookings for Cuba Voyages on Its Fathom Brand
Carnival Corporation today announced that the company is continuing discussions with Cuba to allow cruise ships to operate in the same manner as current air charter operations, which transport Cuba-born individuals to and from Cuba.

Carnival Corp. Now Accepting Bookings for Cuba Voyages on Its Fathom BrandFathom will begin sailing its 704-passenger Adonia luxury cruise ship to Cuba every other week starting on May 1, marking the first time in over 50 years that a cruise ship has sailed from the U.S. to Cuba.

Carnival Corporation also announced that it is accepting bookings on its 10th and newest brand, Fathom, from all travelers to Cuba, regardless of their country of origin, and is looking forward to its historic inaugural voyage to Cuba on May 1, 2016. While optimistic that Cuba will treat travelers with Fathom the same as air charters today, should that decision by Cuba be delayed past May 1, Carnival Corporation will delay the start of its voyages to Cuba accordingly.

Carnival Corporation continues active discussions with Cuba, asking that travel on Fathom be on a level playing field with air charter travel to Cuba and remains confident its discussions with Cuba will result in a positive outcome for everyone who wants to travel to Cuba, including those who are Cuba-born.

Fathom has updated its reservations process and all travelers can book its cruises to Cuba, including Cuban-born individuals, in anticipation of Cuba allowing travel on a similar basis as they would if they were traveling by air.

"We want everyone to be able to go to Cuba with us," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "We remain excited about this historic opportunity to give our guests an extraordinary vacation experience in Cuba."

"We have already seen tremendous consumer interest in the incredible Cuba journey we have put together," said Tara Russell, president of Fathom. "Our guests will visit three beautiful and unique destinations on the island all in one week, with the convenience of only having to unpack once while we sail on the Fathom Adonia, our premium small ship with its excellent and diverse dining, service and accommodations."

Carnival Corporation's Fathom brand and voyages with three ports of call in Cuba

During each sailing, Fathom will visit Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, three ports of call for which Carnival Corporation has obtained berthing approval.

As part of this historic sailing in this inaugural year, travelers will enjoy an exciting Cuban experience and will sail aboard the Adonia, where they can choose to partake in onboard experiences, including Cuban- and Caribbean-inspired food and films, music and dancing, and much more. Special onboard programming will include a wide variety of activities covering an array of interests, ranging from an orientation to Cuba's history, customs and culture, to geographic-inspired entertainment, to casual and fun personal enrichment activities, along with conversational Spanish lessons. Seven-day itineraries on Carnival Corporation's Fathom brand depart from PortMiami on Sundays at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). The ship will arrive at its first destination, Havana, the following morning (Monday) at 11 a.m. ET. The Adonia returns to its homeport, PortMiami, at 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.

Princess Cruises Announces Two New Ship Orders
Princess Cruises announced that it has reached an agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri S.p.A. to build two new ships, entering into service in 2019 and 2020.

Princess Cruises Announces Two New Ship OrdersThe finalization of the contract follows the announcement late last year of a memorandum of agreement between Princess Cruise’s parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc and Fincantieri for five new ships including the Princess Cruises new builds. As the world’s largest travel and leisure company, Carnival Corporation has an existing fleet of 100 cruise ships and a total of 16 new ships scheduled for delivery between 2016 and 2020.

The contract was signed on Saturday (April 2) at a ceremony at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Marghera attended by Italian Minister of Infrastructures and Transport Graziano Delrio, Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald, Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono and Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Group, which includes Princess Cruises.

“We are incredibly proud and excited to add two new ships to our already formidable fleet,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “With this new ship commitment Princess Cruises will continue to grow and expand globally as the world’s destination leader in premium cruising.”

The unnamed 143,700-ton, 3,560-passenger ships will be the brand’s fourth and fifth Royal-class vessels, featuring an evolution of the successful design platform used on Royal Princess, Regal Princess and the new Majestic Princess coming in 2017.

The new Princess ships will include the signature elements that have become synonymous with the brand’s best-in-class guest experience featuring a soaring central atrium, multiple dining, entertainment and retail venues; outdoor theater experience; and 80 percent of all staterooms with balconies. The ships will also include new innovations to enhance the guest experience even further. Specific features and amenities for the ships, along with deployment details, will be revealed in the near future.

Holland America Line Names Godmother of ms Koningsdam
Holland America Line's tradition will continue when Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands christens Holland America Line's new Pinnacle-class ship, ms Koningsdam, in a ceremony in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, May 20, 2016, on board the ship. The 2,650-guest ship is the first in a new class of vessel for the line.

Holland America Line's tradition will continue when Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands christens Holland America Line's new Pinnacle-class ship, ms KoningsdamMembers of the Dutch Royal Family have launched 11 Holland America Line ships. Most recently, then-Princess Máxima christened ms Nieuw Amsterdam in 2010 and then-Queen Beatrix served as ms Eurodam's godmother in 2008. Statendam III in 1929 was launched by Prince Hendrik and Nieuw Amsterdam II in 1937 by Queen Wilhelmina. Then-Princess Beatrix named Statendam IV in 1957 and Prinses Margriet in 1960. Rotterdam V was launched in 1958 by Queen Juliana. Princess Margriet dedicated Prinsendam in 1972, Nieuw Amsterdam II in 1983, ms Rotterdam VI in 1997 and ms Oosterdam in 2003.

"We are incredibly honored that Her Majesty Queen Máxima will carry on the tradition of Dutch Royalty christening Holland America Line ships, which began 87 years ago," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "We chose Rotterdam as the location for the official ceremony because of the deep historic connection between Holland America Line, the city and the people of the Netherlands. May 20 will be a very special day in our company's 143-year history as we officially dedicate ms Koningsdam."

The official ceremony will take place in Rotterdam onboard the ship during a special 13-day Christening Cruise departing Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, May 9. Following that voyage Koningsdam will spend the summer sailing from the port of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on itineraries to Norway, the Baltic and Iceland.

Following its Europe season, Koningsdam will sail to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for winter and spring Caribbean cruises.

Ovation of the Seas Becomes the largest cruise ship ever to homeport in Hong Kong
By all accounts, Royal Caribbean International enjoyed great success by deploying their iconic Voyager of the Seas in Hong Kong last year. In response to the overwhelming market excitement, the company now plans to go one step further by also basing their newest cruise ship -- Ovation of the Seas in Hong Kong in November this year. This will be the first time that Royal Caribbean will have two ships deployed in Hong Kong.

Ovation of the Seas Becomes the largest cruise ship ever to homeport in Hong KongVoyager of the Seas’ homeport season business in Hong Kong in 2015 resulted in over 55,000 travellers signing up for 17 cruises. In the summer, the visit of Quantum of the Seas, the newest and technologically advanced ship of the Royal Caribbean, became the talk of the town.

Dr. Zinan Liu, President, North APAC & China of Royal Caribbean International said, “We are so confident in the Hong Kong cruise market we decided to extend the homeport season of Voyager of the Seas from three months to over four months, and in addition bring our newest ship, Ovation of the Seas, here by the end of this year. Having two ships here will enable us to increase our programme in Hong Kong from 20 to 30 sailings . This means we could be welcoming over 100,000 vacationers this year which is about a 65% increase compared to last year.”

Ovation of the Seas is the third addition to the Quantum class ships, and is a sister ship to Quantum of the Seas that visited Hong Kong last year. Built by Meyer Werft in Germany at a cost of USD 1 billion, the 168,666 tons vessel has 2,090 staterooms for up to 4,180 guests and will be the largest cruise liner ever to be based in Hong Kong.

Ovation of the Seas will depart from Southampton, England on her 53-day “Global Odyssey” cruise to Tianjin, China on 3rd of May. She will then have a season in Tianjin in June before coming to Hong Kong in November.

Ovation of the Seas has been hailed as “The cruise from the future”. She features unprecedented Quantum Class amenities, including the North StarSM capsule which soars above the ship to deliver incomparable 360º ocean views, a thrilling skydiving experience with RipCord by iFLY and onboard bumper cars.

In addition, Ovation of the Seas offers three specifically Chinese attractions to help their Chinese guests feel at home. Fan Bingbing, the internationally-acclaimed Chinese actress has become the newly-appointed Godmother to Ovation of the Seas’, and in a unique collaboration with China’s Forbidden City Imperial Palace Museum, the ship will offer displays of historical relics from the Forbidden City and feature invited experts to hold talks about the Imperial Palace in Beijing. There is also a giant 33-foot “Mama and Baby” art installation, depicting a mother panda and her cub, reaching out to one another as a symbol of good luck. Pandas are considered national treasures in China.

In addition to the arrival of Ovation of the Seas in Hong Kong, Voyager of the Seas is striving to raise the bar even higher in terms of excellence to meet the demands of local guests. Hong Kong vacationers crave sumptuous dining experiences and fast Internet speeds. So now Voyager of the Seas will offer both.

For the first-time-ever, Royal Caribbean is partnering on board with the award-winning Cantonese culinary experts, Xin Dau Ji, to provide over 20 exquisite signature dishes, including fried scallops, fish fillets with corn, steamed chicken in Lotus leaves, pan-fried fresh shrimp and more.

Balwin Yeung, Director of Sales & Marketing of Royal Caribbean Cruises Hong Kong Ltd. said, “Hong Kong vacationers expect the very best at this level of cruising which is why we have invited Xin Dau Ji to answer their culinary desires, especially their craving for truly authentic Chinese cuisine. Both Royal Caribbean and Xin Dau Ji are noted for their innovative approaches and share the same target group of customers in middle-class families. With these values in common and a similar customer base we should be perfect partners, in achieving a win-win collaboration.”

To ensure guests can enjoy the perfect meal with their friends, Voyager of the Seas has also introduced the all-new “E-sea dining” seat arrangement for on board restaurants. Guests can get seats with companions when they come to the restaurant instead of only getting a designated table. The main menu has also been upgraded to Quantum Class, and redesigned to a picture-oriented menu for more appealing reading.

From 1 May, 2016, all Royal Caribbean cruise liners including Voyager of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas will be equipped with the fastest Internet network at sea, so guests can share their cruising experience instantly with their friends and family on shore. The new VOOM internet system is around 7 times faster than the industry average with a latency of less than 150 milliseconds. Guests will be able to pay a package price per day, per device starting from just HK$60 (US$7.5) - another first in the industry – for an exceptional internet experience.

Royal Caribbean, is always striving to offer exciting new experiences for cruise lovers. And now they’re launching another first: a taste of cruising trip for potential customers who are new to cruise vacations.

On 1st July the Voyager of the Seas will offer travellers an opportunity to enjoy the cruising experience at a taster level. The sampler cruise will not travel to an actual destination. Instead, travellers can simply enjoy the on-board experience in a luxurious 2-night trip at an entry price starting from just HK$1,159 (excluding tax).

In another breakthrough, Royal Caribbean has announced its collaboration with the popular young boy band, C AllStar to entertain travellers on board. It will be the first theme-cruise of Royal Caribbean’s new Hong Kong homeport season. The positive image and the energetic charisma of C AllStar matches perfectly with the vitality of Royal Caribbean’s brand image. The inspiring story of the young band represents the spirit of diligence and perseverance of Hong Kongers, which also symbolises Royal Caribbean International’s determination to stay in Hong Kong and their vision to “Cruise Extraordinary”.

Carnival Extends Time In Port In Cozumel To Provide New Longer Shore Excursion
Carnival Cruise Line has extended the length of time its ships spend in Cozumel, Mexico, on more than 750 voyages, providing guests with even more opportunities to experience and explore one of the Caribbean's most diverse vacation destinations.

On "Cozumel Plus" itineraries, guests now have access to a variety of new excursions, many taking place on Mexico's mainland – with unforgettable tours like swimming with whale sharks, visiting centuries-old ruins and swimming in hidden caverns, just to name a few, complementing nearly 50 existing tours already available.

Designated by a special notation on Carnival's web site, Cozumel Plus itineraries are operated by 17 different Carnival ships offering more than 750 four- to eight-day cruises from six U.S. homeports along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. Carnival Cruise Line offers the greatest variety of cruises to Cozumel, providing guests with unparalleled choice and convenience in their shore excursion options.

The additional time in port has enabled Carnival's shore excursion experts to partner with local tour operators to create one-of-a-kind excursion offerings that allow guests to fully immerse themselves in Mexican culture and participate in truly unique landside experiences.

Cozumel Plus tours are up to eight hours in duration and include everything from extended, day-long tours visiting ancient Mayan ruins, including Chichen ItzaCozumel Plus tours are up to eight hours in duration and include everything from extended, day-long tours visiting ancient Mayan ruins, including Chichen Itza – one of the Seven Wonders of the World dating back to 750 A.D. – to snorkeling the exquisite turquoise waters of Xel-Ha, a magnificent group of lagoons connected by a series of bridges.

On other excursions, guests can explore Mexico's famed "secret river," subterranean caverns connected by underground waterways with stunning natural rock formations that are millions of years old or participate in a seasonal excursion of swimming in open waters with whale sharks – gentle sea creatures measuring up to 40 feet in length and weighing up to 47,000 pounds.

Of course, the additional time in port provides guests with more time to check out Cozumel's legendary white-sand beaches, excellent fishing, snorkeling and water sports, and unique shopping and dining opportunities.

Cruises visiting Cozumel dock at Puerta Maya, Carnival's modern three-berth facility in Cozumel which, in addition to offering easy access to the various tours via an on-site transportation center, includes a variety of retail shops, boutiques and restaurants, enhancing guests' on-shore experience.

"With magnificent beaches and interesting landmarks and historical sites, Cozumel is the Caribbean's premier cruising region and our 'Cozumel Plus' itineraries provide our guests with a seemingly endless variety of new ways to explore this fascinating destination," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "These new itineraries provide our guests with the opportunity to create wonderful vacation memories and our travel agent partners an exciting cruise option to market to their clients."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 50.84 + 0.08%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 79.38 - 0.19%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.75 - 3.17
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 52.14 - 2.60%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Many people know that Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 and P&O's Canberra served as troop ships during the Falkland islands conflict in 1982, but can you name the other former liner that was also pressed into service during the conflict?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which former cruise ship was rumored to have been a "spy ship" when she sailed for the East German government from 1965 to 1990?

Answer - Marco Polo, then sailing as the Alexandr Pushkin.
courtesy of ed Newland<

Cruise News - April 11, 2016

U-Boat Worx Unveils New Deepest-diving Submarine For Cruise Ships
U-Boat Worx has launched three new luxury submarine models: the Cruise Sub 5, Cruise Sub 7 and Cruise Sub 9. The Cruise Sub 5 and 7 are capable of diving to 1,140 meters making them the deepest-diving tourist submersibles ever. Depending on the model, it can carry 5, 7 or 9 persons per dive.

U-Boat Worx Unveils New Deepest-diving Submarine For Cruise ShipsAfter the first success stories of submersibles operated from luxury Cruise Ships like The Taipan from Star Cruises and the Crystal Esprit, the Netherlands-based submersible manufacturer is seeing increased demand from the industry.

"Our operations on cruise ships inspired the development of the Cruise Sub series," says Bert Houtman, Founder and Chairman at U-Boat Worx. "Whether the operator focusses on exclusive deep sea exploration in remote destinations or on doing numerous subsea excursions on coral reefs, the Cruise Subs are optimized for maximizing the guest experience."

Traditional tourist submersibles have small windows, and passenger seating much like a bus. The new Cruise Sub series is based on the U-Boat Worx submersibles that are used on exclusive private super yachts and by research institutes. All guests will enjoy the same panoramic experience thanks to two large acrylic spheres that place everyone on the front row.

The interior can revolve inside the sphere, ensuring passengers always have the best view while diving - regardless of the direction the submersible is travelling.

The submersibles are designed to international standards and can be operated non-stop for up to 12 hours. The submersibles are battery-powered and therefore have no impact on the marine environment in which they operate, so diving in a U-Boat Worx submarine is an ecologically sound activity.

Keel Laying Ceremony Held for Carnival Cruise Line’s Second Vista-Class Vessel
Keel Laying Ceremony Held for Carnival Cruise Line’s Second Vista-Class VesselA traditional keel-laying ceremony was held at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy for Carnival Cruise Line’s second Vista-class ship set to debut in spring 2018.

The ceremony – which dates back hundreds of years – signifies the official start of construction of a seagoing vessel. The as-yet-unnamed ship will offer a wide variety of the line’s popular dining, bar and entertainment innovations, as well as some features unique to this vessel.

Additional design details, as well as the official name of the 133,500-ton, 3,954-passenger ship and itinerary and homeport information, will be announced at a later date.

Norwegian Joy's Keel Laying Ceremony Held at Meyer Werft
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) together with executives at MEYER WERFT, celebrated the keel laying ceremony today in Papenburg, Germany for Norwegian’s first ever ship styled exclusively for Chinese guests Norwegian Joy (Xi Yuè Hào), arriving Summer 2017.

During the ceremony, the first of 80 blocks that will comprise the 168,800 gross ton vessel was lifted into the covered building hall, officially marking the start of the ship’s assembly. Norwegian Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH) executives were present in the hall and laid the traditional “lucky coin,” before the first block, weighing 680 tons, was placed by a massive crane.

Norwegian Joy's Keel Laying Ceremony Held at Meyer Werft“We are absolutely thrilled to celebrate the Keel Laying for Norwegian Joy today with our partners at MEYER WERFT,” said Norwegian Cruise Line President and Chief Operating Officer Andy Stuart. “Norwegian Joy is yet another evolution for Norwegian Cruise Line and we know the outstanding work of the teams at MEYER WERFT will truly make her a first class vessel.”

A special commemorative coin featuring the ship was created to celebrate the day’s activities. In a ceremony held at the XingTian Temple at Fang Ta Park in Shanghai on March 31, 2016, NCLH China executives gathered for a traditional prayer and pledge ceremony to the Chinese Goddess of the sea, Mazu, to bring blessings to the coins, the ship and all of the guests who sail on her. The same coin was then placed under the block during the ceremony.

“We are carefully designing every element of Norwegian Joy, from her VIP accommodations to gourmet dining venues, outstanding recreation and entertainment choices and family-friendly features, to create a First Class at Sea experience that is completely focused on exceeding the expectations of our Chinese guests,” said NCLH China President David Herrera.

In addition to the ceremony, Norwegian Cruise Line also announced the appointment of David Herrera as President, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings China. Previously Senior Vice President Strategy and Business Development for NCLH, David will assume new responsibilities for the sales, marketing, public relations and operations for all three brands within the NCLH portfolio in his new role. To lead the launch efforts for Norwegian Joy, Mr. Herrera, his wife Patty and their three young sons will be relocating to Shanghai this summer.

“David is building an incredible team of talented individuals in China who are committed to making the launch of Norwegian Joy a resounding success, and that dedication starts at the top,” said Harry Sommer, NCLH executive vice president for International Business and Operations. “It was abundantly clear that David’s involvement in our China efforts since 2012, as well as his enthusiasm and passion, made him the right person to lead the team on the ground in Shanghai and we are so pleased to have him in this new role.”

Home porting in Shanghai & Tianjin (Beijing), Norwegian Joy was designed by the team at NCL to provide First Class at Sea experiences specifically for the Chinese traveler, with onboard amenities that cater to the unique vacation desires of Chinese guests. Built at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg, Germany, the ship features German precision engineering to the highest possible standard, all while offering superior customization for the culture and preferences of Chinese guests along with the exciting and innovative features found on NCL’s most recent vessels.

“This steel block for Norwegian Joy marks another milestone of our successful partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line,” said Bernard Meyer, Managing Director of MEYER WERFT. “We are thrilled to build a totally new ship which is designed for the fast growing Chinese market and will be delivered in just 12 months.”

Disney Cruise Line Unveils New Itineraries for Summer 2017
In 2017, Disney Cruise Line will sail on new itineraries and to new ports, including first-time visits to new destinations in Alaska and Europe. That summer, Disney Cruise Line also returns to Norway, the British Isles, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and the Bahamas

New Alaska itinerary: Icy Strait Point and Hubbard Glacier
For the first time, Disney Cruise Line will take guests to Alaska's Icy Strait Point and Hubbard Glacier. These dramatic locations are part of a new nine-night itinerary on the Disney Wonder. Departing from Vancouver, British Columbia, on July 24, 2017, this itinerary also sails to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Tracy Arm Fjord.

Disney Cruise Line will take guests to Alaska's Icy Strait Point and Hubbard GlacierIcy Strait Point offers a variety of Alaska nature adventures, including a zip line attraction that is one of the longest and highest zip lines in the world. Nearby, Glacier Bay National Park is a spectacular highlight of Alaska's Inside Passage and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another highlight of this cruise is seeing Hubbard Glacier, the largest and most active tidewater glacier in North America. Displaying extraordinary blue hues and immense beauty, this spectacular glacier is more than six miles wide where it meets the ocean.

A new seven-night Alaska sailing from Vancouver, departing July 17, 2017, includes a call on Icy Strait Point, in addition to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. On Aug. 2, 2017, the Disney Wonder will sail its first five-night Alaska cruise from Vancouver to Tracy Arm and Ketchikan.

New Europe destinations: Amsterdam and Stonehenge
For the first time, Disney Cruise Line will visit Amsterdam, Netherlands, known for its elaborate canal system, tulip fields, windmills and world-class museums housing works by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh.

On May 13, 2017, the Disney Magic embarks on a 15-night transatlantic crossing from Port Canaveral, Florida, to Copenhagen, with a stop in Amsterdam along the way. This itinerary also includes a call on Portland, England – another first-time port for Disney Cruise Line. Portland is a short distance from Stonehenge, the prehistoric ring of standing stones monument that is one of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World.

A visit to Amsterdam also will be part of a 10-night northern Europe itinerary that departs June 18, 2017, from Copenhagen, Denmark, to Dover, England. Other ports on this sailing include Warnemunde (Berlin), Germany; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia; and Tallinn, Estonia.

The grand tour of Europe continues throughout the summer with limited engagements in the Baltic, Norwegian fjords, Iceland, British Isles and the Mediterranean.

New Disney Fantasy itineraries: Southern Caribbean
For the first time, the Disney Fantasy will sail from Port Canaveral on longer itineraries – new 10- and 11-night cruises to the southern Caribbean. On June 17, 2017, a new 11-night itinerary will visit Aruba, Barbados, Martinique, St. Kitts, Tortola and Disney's private island, Castaway Cay.

On June 28, 2017, a new 10-night itinerary will call on Aruba, Curacao, St. Kitts, Tortola and Castaway Cay.

More Castaway Cay
Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas, is consistently rated a top port-of-call by Disney Cruise Line guests. To give guests more time at this island paradise, select Disney Dream sailings from Port Canaveral will include two stops at Castaway Cay.

Special five-night sailings, departing June 2, 11, 16, 25, 30 and July 9, 2017, will call on Castaway Cay twice and include a stop in Nassau, Bahamas.

Ovation Of The Seas Broadens Horizons With 11,000-Piece Art Collection
Royal Caribbean International's newest smartship, Ovation of the Seas, is setting sail from Southampton, U.K. this week on her 52-day Global Odyssey visiting exotic ports of call from the Mediterranean to the Far East and beyond. Guests onboard Ovation will experience these extraordinary ports while enjoying an 11,000-piece, $4.5 million dollar art collection that has been inspired by the words of Confucius: "Wherever you go, go with all your heart." The collection was curated by London-based Peter Millard and Partners and features contemporary art from artists from around the world.

"The true essence of a Royal Caribbean vacation is to broaden travelers' horizons by introducing them to new and unexpected adventures and that includes the art we feature onboard our ships," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Ovation of the Seas features unexpected and destination-inspired artwork, unique pieces and interactive art

One of the ultimate photo ops onboard Ovation of the Seas is Mama and Baby, a larger-than-life commission33-Foot Panda and Cub Set Sail
One of the ultimate photo ops onboard Ovation of the Seas is "Mama and Baby," a larger-than-life commission designed by a U.K.-based artist Jo Smith. Perched atop the SeaPlex on deck 15, the piece depicts a mother panda and her cub, reaching out to one another. Considered a symbol of good luck and a national treasure in Chinese culture, the peaceful creatures with the distinctive black and white coat were curated with Ovation's primarily Chinese guests in mind, and intended to bestow peace and prosperity on all who interact with them. The pandas are also a playful nod to the cruise line's newly announced partnership with World Wildlife Fund, which focuses on ensuring the long-term health of the oceans its ships sail upon.

Mama and Baby together weigh approximately six-and-a-half tons. Mama is 10 meters high, or approximately 33 feet, from the deck to the top of the sculpture, while Baby is approximately three meters, or ten feet tall.

Smart Art Includes First Moving Sculpture at Sea
It wouldn't be a smart ship without smart art, and the Quantum class hallmark of high-tech pieces continues onboard Ovation with "Sky Wave," a piece sure to be a guest favorite. Created by New York-based Hypersonic and Boston-based Plebian Design, Sky Wave is the first ever kinetic moving sculpture at sea. The installation pivots and curves at different points to mirror the flow of both wind and water. Further inspiration was also taken from the ship's movement, culminating in a piece that combines both maritime elements and engineering.

Each petal in Sky Wave is made of handcrafted fiberglass and varies in length to hone the flawless rolling sway. Located on deck 5 just in the Royal Esplanade, the eye-catching, carefully crafted art piece was commissioned specifically for Ovation.

Elevator Art Gets an New Look, Still Prime for Selfies
The elevator art on Quantum class is known for selfie-taking, and Ovation of the Seas is no exception. Ovation is elevating the selfie art game with all-new imagery from Chinese photographer Huainan Li's series, "The World of the Senses." The powerful series features the futuristic faces of women accented in metallic hues and sporting glasses that reflect a variety of whimsical scenes. The collection of 10 pieces is sure to surprise and delight guests each time they ride from deck to deck, and pack an unexpected punch when the doors open.

The Red Thread
One of the most iconic art locales on Quantum-class ships is the rotunda, which connects mid-ship's Jamie's Italian and Vintages. Ovation does not disappoint as passersby can enjoy the work of Bieli Liu, a Chinese artist who played into the natural movement of the ship with an adaptation from her "Lure" series of installations. The sculpture was created to fit the rotunda location and represents an ancient Chinese legend depicting the red threads that connect Chinese children to their soulmates. A disc may be connected to another, as a pair; and a pair of disks may sprout from a single thread. The installation is designed to suspend from the ceiling forming a vibrant and energetic piece that responds to subtle air currents and movement as the red coils turn, and strands of thread become entangled.

Throughout the entire ship, guests will find curated art at every turn, all inspired by the exotic destinations Ovation will visit. Figures from artist Zheng Lu are located outside Two70. The sculpture – inspired by the artist's father, a Chinese poet – weaves Chinese symbols together in a delicate fashion.

Heading into the Royal Theater, artist Dominic Harris engages show-goers with an interactive piece titled "Flutter Wall." The 120-inch screen showcases butterflies on a black canvas that seemingly fly away as guests walk up for a closer view. A true surprise and delight experience akin to the additional installations that travelers can enjoy onboard.

Princess Cruises Reveals 8th Cruise Wonder of the World
Princess Cruises reveals that The Grand Canal of Venice was voted the "8th Cruise Wonder of the World" as voted by their guests The announcement follows the 2015 "7 Cruise Wonders of the World," which identified seven intriguing destinations, each spectacular in its own way, especially when arriving by cruise ship.

Princess Cruises Reveals 8th Cruise Wonder of the WorldWith more than 38,000 submissions, The Grand Canal of Venice received the most votes and of those who submitted this destination, one lucky entrant, Steve Turner of Calabasas, Calif., was selected as the winner of a Princess cruise vacation.

"Of all the remarkable destinations on the planet, some of the most captivating are especially suited to visit while on a cruise," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "We were honored to partner with Condé Nast Traveler to present the '7 Cruise Wonders of the World' showcasing some of the world's most iconic destinations. From its piazzas to its palaces, Venice's beauty is fully revealed through an arrival by cruise ship, offering a perfectly fitting introduction to the '8th Cruise Wonder of the World' – the Grand Canal."

There is no more memorable way to arrive in Venice than cruising through the Guidecca Canal on Princess' small ship, Pacific Princess. Guests take in the sites of the entire city linked by meandering canals of waterways beckoning for immersive exploration. The landmarks of this UNESCO World Heritage Centre come into view, from the Byzantine spires of St. Mark's Basilica to the mouth of the Grand Canal itself.

The Grand Canal of Venice joins the other Cruise Wonders of the World destinations including:

  1. Fiordland National Park, New Zealand - Sail into a world of surreal beauty, where the verdant flanks of snowcapped peaks plunge into the crystalline waters of ice-carved fjords.
  2. Panama Canal - Traverse the waterway that shaped the course of history by linking the two mightiest oceans on the planet in an engineering feat that remains breathtaking to this day.
  3. Shiretoko Peninsula, Japan - Embark on a magical tour that leads you through the wilds of Japan's northernmost island, Hokkaido, where a variety of whales make their home and the verdant coastline is nothing short of spectacular.
  4. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska - Stunning glaciers, pristine waterways and watching for wildlife are a few of the things you experience while slowly cruising through dazzling Glacier Bay National Park.
  5. Christ the Redeemer, Rio do Janeiro, Brazil - A South American icon high above the city with arms outstretched embracing all of the city's citizens and visitors.
  6. Trunk Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands - White powder sand beaches, perfect clear water, and sunny climes—it's the island idyll we all long for.
  7. Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey - This beautiful Byzantine cathedral (from 532 AD) hovers silently over its surroundings, as it has for the last 1500 years.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 50.08 - 4.21%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 79.53 - 3.61%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.84 + 3.65
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.53 - 2.03%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former cruise ship was rumored to have been a "spy ship" when she sailed for the East German government from 1965 to 1990?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
This week's question comes from our...Before they were Stars...file. Before she became famous as one of the original "Love Boats" the Pacific Princess sailed from New York to Bermuda under this name.

Answer - She was the Sea Venture, of Flagship Cruises, my first cruise of now 14.
courtesy of Gery Keenan

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